More than a third of museums and galleries cut staff last year, while nearly half increased the number of interns and volunteers, according to a survey by the Museums Association.
The annual review also found that school visits were down by 31%.
“Interns and volunteers have plenty to offer but can never replace skilled, experienced staff,” said Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association.
The government said museum visits were at record highs.
The Museums Association said staff cuts were primarily due to a reduction in public investment, which had continued to affect half of all museums in the past year.
More than a fifth (21%) of museums cut staff numbers by more than 10% during the period surveyed, July 2012-July 2013.