Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
MONDAY 19 MARCH 2001
YOUNG, KCB AND
180. May I finally ask you then what percentage
of the collection has not been on display during, say, the last
ten years ever?
(Dr Borg) It is difficult to produce a figure for
that in the last ten years. We have in South Kensington something
like six per cent of the collection on show, but that figure rises
to around 24 per cent if you exclude the prints and drawings collection
with over a million objects which cannot be shown for conservation
reasons but all of which is available. There are some objects
which have not been seen in the public galleries for many years
but I do not have the proportion of those.
181. What sort of disposal policy do you have
for objects which are, in effect, never put on show?
(Dr Borg) We have a disposals committee. We are, of
course, unable to sell objects because we are prevented from doing
so by statute, but we can dispose of objects if they are duplicate,
if they are surplus to the requirements of the collection, or
if they are in a state in which they can no longer be preserved.
There are some objects, for example some 18th century silks, which
would self-destruct because of the dyes used in them. Very few
objects are disposed of. Anything for disposal would be offered
to another museum to see if a home could be produced for it.
Mr Rendel: Thank you Chairman.
182. Can I just for clarification, Dr Borg ask
you to explain to the Committee this statute that limits the sale
(Dr Borg) That is the National Heritage Act which
governs the Victoria and Albert Museum and prevents us from selling
objects. All the national museums are covered by legislation of
one sort or another. I think in all cases we are prevented from
183. You can transfer between you?
(Dr Borg) We can transfer between but we cannot sell.
184. If someone can exploit the two-thirds of
your assets better than you could transfer to them?
(Dr Borg) Yes.
185. The last question really relates to Mr
Davidson's questions to you. I would like you to go away and see
what data you havesince you raised the issue of ethnic
and social balanceon the social class origins of visitors,
regional origins as well as ethnic origins, and while you are
at it, have a look and see what data you do have on schools and
the balance between private and state schools. If you could do
that as well that would be helpful.
(Dr Borg) Yes.
Chairman: Beyond that it just remains for me
to thank you both for coming.
11 Note: See Evidence, Appendix 1, page 17 (PAC