Funding cuts could close Alton’s Curtis Museum in 2026.

The venue is one of five run by the Hampshire Cultural Trust that are under threat, along with the Ashcroft Arts Centre and Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham, Eastleigh Museum, and Andover Museum and the Museum of the Iron Age.

The trust will stop operating Bursledon Windmill in March following the withdrawal of funding by Eastleigh Borough Council last year.

It runs Westbury Manor Museum for Fareham Borough Council, which turned down a funding request last year. The trust intends to hand it back to Fareham next year.

Hampshire County Council is the trust’s top funder but wants to cut £600,000 from its annual grant of £2.5 million by 2027. The commercial opportunity of taking over Winchester’s Great Hall from the county council will see another £400,000 cut from the grant by 2027.

Trust chief executive Paul Sapwell said: “Our position is that we do not want to close any of the venues we operate, but faced with substantially reduced local authority funding we have had no option but to make some very difficult decisions.

“Subject to Hampshire County Council’s current consultation, we anticipate withdrawing from Ashcroft Arts Centre, Westbury Manor Museum and Eastleigh Museum by early 2025.

“However, Alton’s Curtis Museum, and Andover Museum and the Museum of the Iron Age, sit later in the proposed business plan.

“With a £2.5 million project to refurbish the Allen Gallery already under way in Alton, we remain fully committed to high-quality cultural provision in the town.

“With a three-year window ahead of us, we will work with local partners to find solutions that may enable us to keep these venues in Alton and Andover open.

“However, without additional funding this will of course be challenging.”