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The Museo del Prado is increasing its activities by opening every day of the week
General view of the Central Gallery of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. EPA/LEONARDO WEN.

MADRID.- The Museo del Prado took the decision to increase its opening hours to every day of the week in order to improve and expand its cultural activities and thus guarantee its commitment to covering 60% of its budget through self-financing. This new initiative starts with the exhibition 'The Hermitage in the Prado', which will be open every day of the week, from Mondays to Sundays, from the day it opens on 8 November. The Museum’s Permanent Collection will also have new opening hours from 16 January.

The Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado approved the initiative to extend the Museum’s opening hours to every day of the week. This decision falls within the “Current Situation Reaction Plan” that the Museum has set in motion in the light of the ongoing reduction of public funding arising from the present economic circumstances in Spain. It includes a wide-ranging series of actions aimed at improving the service offered to the visiting public and at increasing the Museum’s activities in order to guarantee its financial stability and viability over the coming years.

The new opening hours, which will begin on 16 January, will mean that both the permanent collections and the temporary exhibitions are open every day of the week, including Mondays, which has traditionally been the day off for those of the Museum’s staff who work directly with the public. The Museum will also open on Good Friday, a day on which it has traditionally been closed. With the implementation of this initiative, which also involves adapting the opening hours to take into account the busiest times of day regarding visitor numbers, the Prado will be open 53 more days a year, further consolidating its position as the European museum with the longest opening hours (3,542 hours per year) and making it one of a small group of major international museums that open every day of the week, alongside the Tate Modern and the British Museum in the UK, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Holland, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in the USA.

Following the announcement last May of budgetary restrictions arising from the Austerity Plan imposed on all State bodies and institutions, the Museum’s Royal Board of Trustees and its Directorship embarked on a process of strategy analysis with the aim of adapting the Museum’s current Action Plan and of finding solutions to the new economic situation that would guarantee the continuance of the Prado’s activities and the services that it offers to the public. This process of strategy analysis has now taken concrete shape in the announcement of the new opening hours, which have been extended to every day of the week including Mondays, the day on which the Prado was previously closed.

With these new measures, recently launched with the implementation of a new, single entry price that only varies slightly in relation to the nature of the temporary exhibition on display at any given moment and now concluding with the new opening hours from Mondays to Sundays and including Good Friday, the Prado’s aim is to raise more direct income in order to compensate for the loss of State funding envisaged in the Austerity Plan 2010-2013. The Museum is now committed to covering 60% of its running costs by the end of that period through its own revenues, implying an increase in self-financing of between 10% and 15%.

In addition to improving the cultural and tourist activities offered to visitors by the Region of Madrid, this new measure will have both a direct and indirect effect on the Spanish economy. According to a study carried out by Deloitte, the opening of the Prado to the public on Mondays will mean a total impact on the Spanish GDP of between 80 and 90 million Euros a year, in addition to encouraging the creation and continuity of direct and indirect employment.

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