‘Why aren’t tech bosses sponsoring us?’ asks V&A’s Hunt

Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, has criticised tech giants for not supporting cash-strapped museums and galleries.

In an interview with the i newspaper, Hunt, the former MP and shadow education secretary, said that museums and galleries are suffering from the loss of tourists and venue hire revenue and that it was time for new business support.

“What’s surprising is there hasn’t been a Zuckerberg wing already at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or a Twitter endowment for the arts in California” Hunt said. “There isn’t that culture of [tech companies] giving to museums yet.

“The cultural life of cities like London is one of the reasons Google attracts people to work here” he said. “In the past, major philanthropic families like the Sainsburys gave that cultural infrastructure to museums and galleries because they thought that’s what the wealthy should do. Making that argument afresh is one of the challenges for today.”

Hunt has had to cut staff in the museum by 140 in order to make up losses from the Covid lockdowns ad increase income at a rate of £10m a year.

Tourists from abroad, he said, normally accounted for half the visitor total; now they are about 2%.


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