If you had any question that New York’s Metropolitan Museum was the reigning champion of museum attendance in the US, then their latest figures should dispel any doubts.
The landmark New York museum announced today that 5.68 million people visited the Met during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2011, which is 400,000 more than last year.
What were the top draws?
- Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (April 27-August 15, 2010) attracted 703,256 visitors
- Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú (April 27-October 31, 2010) brought in 631,064 visitors, though I think this figure is skewed considering most people just want to take in the breathtaking view from the Met’s roof rather than see the art, and
- Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which has welcomed more than 500,000 visitors since it opened on May 4 and continues until August 7.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the institution also announced that 214,000 New York City school visitors were welcomed by the Museum (20,000 more than the previous year), and the museum’s Membership has now reached a “record-breaking” 139,800.
To put these figures into context:
- US art museums had an average attendance figure of 44,878 in 2009, according to a American Association of Museums report.
- The next largest American museum, in terms of attendance, is Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art, which attracted 4.7 million visitors in 2010 — though it is worth noting that the NGA has no admission fee and the Met has a suggested donation of $25 for adults.
- New York’s Museum of Modern Art clocks in as the seventh most attended museum in the world and the second most in New York with 3.1 million visitors in 2010.
- While there is a lot of talk about LA becoming an burgeoning art center, their most attended museum, the Getty Center, only attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2010, while the Los Angeles County Museum of Art wasn’t even able to attract a million visitors (914,356 in 2010).
Overall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is ranked the third largest museum in the world in terms of attendance. According to The Art Newspaper, only the Louvre (8.5 million visitors in 2010) and the British Museum (5.84 million in 2010) do better.