In 1888, Thomas Greenwood, admittedly an apologist for rate-supported museums, wrote

Although he was undoubtedly making a case for greater financial support and increased scope for municipal museums, he was also describing the existing situation accurately. In the 1880s, a report by the British Association for the Advancement of Science looked at 211 provincial museums in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, nearly one hundred of which had been opened in the preceding 16 years. Of the 159 museums in England, 45 were rate-supported. Meanwhile 17 were supported by universities and colleges, 49 by local societies and institutes, and four by central government (this does not include the London museums). 68 offered free admission daily, with the rest either offering some free days in the week, or charging a standard admission fee.2 The model of the free, rate-supported museum was undoubtedly an extremely, and increasingly, influential one.