Speaking yesterday, Heather Mayfield, deputy director of the Science Museum Group – to which the NMM belongs – announced a ‘back to basics’ review to ‘reconnect the museum to its audiences’.

She added: ‘We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for staff and will ensure that consultation will be conducted with the utmost consideration for any staff member affected.’

In a statement, the museum – formerly known as the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television – added: ‘Visitor numbers have seen a decline from a peak of almost one million in 2001 to 500,000 in 2011 – although this decline has been stabilised over the past 12 months with the opening of the new Life Online gallery and an improved family offer at holiday periods.

‘The review aims to deliver an improved public exhibition, events and cinema programme, which appeals more to audiences locally and nationally, supports its status as a national museum and increases access to its world famous collections of film, photography and television.’