True, but the government are supposed to pay for the upkeep. Of course they then fobbed most of it off on to the National Lottery. I can remember when you had to pay to get in - the tsunami of tightwad Japanese tourists coming in when it became free to enter at 90 minutes/2 hours before closing time (I forget which).
Someone's got to pay for the free entry!! I'd rather pay a bit more in the shop or restaurant than have Merlin take over and charge £50 each just to get in.
I love the Science Museum, I used to take my son 2-3 times a year when he was young, even though it was a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. But the shop prices are stupidly high, even at 50% off, you can usually get it cheaper somewhere else.