A museum and art gallery director says he believes people will be "desperate" for culture following the coronavirus lockdown.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, in Carlisle, has been forced to close its doors during the crisis.

Director Andrew Mackay said it was in a "fortunate position" compared to some other organisations, with the 50 per cent of funding it draws from grants from Arts Council England, Carlisle City Council and others appearing safe for now.

“We rely on 50 per cent of our income through admissions and retail and we are going to lose that for the duration we close,” he said.

“As long as everyone honours the grants we can survive for three months in terms of paying salaries.”

While some staff were able to work from home others, such as teachers and those working directly with customers, were in furlough.

“Nearly every cultural organisation, within reason, is on a knife edge,” said Andrew.

“The finances are very delicately balanced between generating your own income and relying on grants.”

He says Tullie House is trying its best to pay freelance artists for work, even if this has been delayed.

“There is an awful lot of trust going on here,” he said.

“People will pay upfront with the hope that commissions will be delivered at a later stage. I feel it’s the right thing to do.”

He added, the enforced “thinking time” at home is a chance to plan the museum’s programme for the future.

“When this is over, I think people will be desperate for museums and the arts,” he says.

Andrew has also been sitting on twice weekly meetings of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s business and economic response and recovery group, which are taking place online.

He said the meetings were a chance for representatives from a range of sectors to share their knowledge and offers of help where possible.

“It’s about peer support, exchanging information and ideas and helping each other across the county, because we are all affected and we don’t want anyone to suffer,” he said.