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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hermitage Shuts London Branch

St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum is closing its branch in London because of funding problems and rising exhibition costs.

The five Hermitage Rooms opened in November 2000 in the 18th-century Somerset House next to the Thames, sharing space with the Courtauld Institute of Art. The space was sponsored by a $7 million gift from the Hermitage Development Trust, headed by British financier Jacob Rothschild and his friend, former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"Rising exhibition costs, at a time when funding is increasingly hard to obtain, have led the Courtauld and the Hermitage to shift the focus of their alliance from exhibitions to scholarship," the Hermitage said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

The Hermitage has a branch in Amsterdam, and in March it signed an agreement to open a branch in Ferrara, Italy.

It also runs an exhibition space in Las Vegas with the Guggenheim.