Author Topic: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales  (Read 1521 times)

Offline halkyn

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« on: January 27, 2019, 03:34:56 pm »
If anyone wants to use photos from the British Museum, they are all available free of charge, and can be used on websites or in articles or books. However, the National Museum of Wales is very different: If they have photographed the item you want, such as bones from caves, then for anything other than totally private use they ask for £150 per photo per year, and insist you renew an annual license. For items with no photographs, they are able to take specific photos for £50 each, plus the £150 a year.
For those wanting to write articles or use images in any publication on a non-profit basis, this in effect means their prices are wholly unrealistic.
The vast majority of NMW collections from caves are not on display but remain in their vaults. One would think NMW would be keen for interested people to come along and take their own photos and for these to educate the public at large, but even this is not viewed well.
Has anyone else had similar problems with NMW?

Offline Graigwen

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 11:01:14 pm »
I understand that for some years NMW have been extremely strapped for funds (like many other institutions). No doubt this is a response to that situation, although it is still extremely annoying.

.

Offline 2xw

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
  • Caving slag (but SUSS really)
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 11:47:51 am »
What did they say when you approached them to discuss it?

Offline halkyn

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 06:07:38 pm »
Yes, I attempted to discuss it with them, and despite several promises that they would reply fully, it took many more e-mails and a full five months before they responded. Sadly, as mentioned above, they simply said that in this case, the need to raise finances conflicted with the interests of the public.
NMW's unwillingness to share such knowledge with the public also conflicts greatly with their stated policy documents which boasts how they exist to serve the people of Wales.

The lesson for those finding archaeological remains in caves therefore is, to quote the late Mel Davies, "Never give your finds to a museum, as you'll never see them again". Seems that even when times were good pounds came before public. Very sad indeed.

Offline 2xw

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
  • Caving slag (but SUSS really)
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 07:03:26 pm »
The email to complain to is likely to be Correspondence.Dafydd.Elis-Thomas@gov.wales

This is the person who has made millions of cuts to museums especially the NMW. Of course, he will tell you that cuts have been made everywhere and it's not his fault, and that things will only get worse.

Sorry.

Offline RobinGriffiths

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 887
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 09:56:58 am »
To be fair, libraries and public bogs have been decimated in Wales over the last 10 years(+ probably England?), so it's no surprise if museums are feeling the pinch.

Offline mch

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 347
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2019, 10:23:58 am »
To be fair, libraries and public bogs have been decimated in Wales over the last 10 years(+ probably England?), so it's no surprise if museums are feeling the pinch.
Yes, it certainly affects England too. Our Library, among others in Doncaster, was closed by the Council several years ago and they only provided an alternative building after sustained public pressure. The new library is run solely by volunteers.

It's important to bear in mind that the decimation of public services is the result of government policies (under the pretence that "there's no money"), not the fault of local authorities.

Offline Stuart France

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 127
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 09:26:47 pm »
I've not tried museums as a source of photos, but I do have experiece of coflein.gov.uk which is the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monument of Wales.  This is a very good website with searchable mapping and linked resources - such as photos and reports.  The aerial shots are particularly interesting where caving overlaps with heritage.

For those not in the know, Coflein is a made-up word in Welsh that merges Cof (memory) and lein (line).

I asked for permission from the RCAHMW to reproduce a photo from their website, and this was prompty granted without any charge being made.  All they asked for was an acknowledgement of my source i.e. to state the image was Crown Copyright and had been reproduced with consent.


Offline halkyn

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 02:51:23 pm »
Hi Stuart,

Yes, I have used the RCAHMW site before for photos, with some success. It only seems to be the National Museum, Cardiff that does not believe in the sharing of knowledge.
I asked if I could visit the museum to photograph a few selected items in their vaults myself, but to do so, they insist that I assign copyright to them (which seems to me very unreasonable), and sign a restrictive annual licence. The public are therefore deterred from carrying out the work they they themselves should be doing. It seems that at every turn, the NMW are alienating the very people who provided their collections in the first place. NMW even have Draconian regs regarding public photography of their items on show, which cannot be shown to anyone else but the person taking the photo!

Dave   


Offline Stuart France

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 127
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2019, 04:59:21 pm »
I think that you should write to your Welsh Assembly member and/or the Minister to point out that the national museum is a publicly funded service that is not, so it seems on this occasion, serving the public particularly well.  You could ask the minister to direct the museum to provide the use of photos for free to non-commercial inquirers, like members of the public, caving clubs, non-for-profit magazines, education etc.

Before doing that, I'd be tempted to send the museum a Freedom of Information Act disclosure request to discover how many inquiries they received in each of the last three years from members of the public and not-for-profit bodies for the use of museum photos, and what proportion of those inquiries turned into purchases of "reproduction rights" and the amount of income that this commercial activity generated for the museum from non-commercial inquirers.  It may well be the case that the sum involved is close nothing because everyone is put off, or the volume of inquiries is so small that it makes no commercial sense to try to exploit it as an income stream.

If the museum's response is "interesting" then you can send it with your political letters and contrast their policy with that of the Royal Commission and the British Museum.

Offline darren

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 225
Re: Unhelpful National Museum of Wales
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2019, 07:32:34 pm »
No, I'm playing all the right notes