The Natural History Museum is one of the most iconic and well-known museums in the world. It attracts millions of visitors each year, who come to marvel at its impressive collection of specimens, artifacts, and exhibits.
But many people wonder: who owns the Natural History Museum? In this article, we will explore the answer to this intriguing question.
The Natural History Museum – A Brief Overview
Before we dive into the ownership of the museum, let’s take a quick look at its history and significance. The Natural History Museum is located in London, UK and was opened way back in 1881. It was originally known as the British Museum (Natural History) but was later renamed to its current title.
The museum contains over 80 million specimens across a range of disciplines including geology, botany, zoology, and entomology. Some of its most famous attractions include the dinosaur skeletons in the central hall and the blue whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling.
So Who Owns The Natural History Museum?
The Natural History Museum is owned by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). This means that although it operates as an independent institution with its own board of trustees and director, it is ultimately accountable to Parliament through DCMS.
The museum receives around 85% of its funding from DCMS each year to cover operational costs such as staff salaries and maintenance. The remaining 15% comes from other sources such as donations, grants, and commercial activities like gift shops and cafes.
The Role Of Trustees
As mentioned earlier, the museum has its own board of trustees who are responsible for overseeing its operations. The trustees are appointed by DCMS on a voluntary basis and serve for a maximum term of 4 years.
Their main role is to ensure that the museum fulfills its objectives which are outlined in its Royal Charter. These objectives include the advancement of education and public awareness of natural history and the promotion of scientific research.
Controversies Surrounding Ownership
Despite being owned by the UK government, the Natural History Museum has faced some controversies regarding ownership in recent years. One such controversy arose when a group of campaigners from India demanded that the museum return a diamond known as the Koh-i-Noor.
The diamond was taken from India during British colonial rule and is now part of the Crown Jewels. The campaigners argued that it should be returned to India as it was taken without consent and holds great cultural significance. However, the British government has refused to return it, citing various legal reasons.
In summary, the Natural History Museum is owned by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). It operates as an independent institution with its own board of trustees who oversee its operations and ensure that it fulfills its objectives outlined in its Royal Charter. Despite some controversies surrounding ownership, the museum remains one of the world’s most popular and significant natural history museums.