Statistics show a 6% drop in attendance at London’s seven biggest art institutions over the last three years.
The Louvre remained the world’s most visited museum last year, but Beijing’s National Museum of China is closing the gap, with just 100,000 fewer visitors.
In attempting to gauge whether attendance at American cultural institutions is indeed declining, many commentators often conflate “museum” with “art museum,” but art museums comprise only about 4.5% of American museums, while history institutions, comprise about 55.5%.
The National Center for Arts Research, which was created in 2012 by the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, says museums “have the highest average number of touch points, both in-person and total.”
The question of whether or not art museums should be free tends to get people riled up.
The Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, the main modern and contemporary art museum in Spain’s third city, grossly inflated its attendance figures, overpaid for acquisitions, and made a number of other suspicious moves during the 10-year tenure of its former director, Consuelo Ciscar.
The average museumgoer in the US, Canada, and Mexico spends $7.93 during her visit (the average museumgoer must not be in New York City), while the museum spends $53.17 on her, according to the Association of Art Museum Directors.
The Art Newspaper’s annual museum attendance figures for 2012 were recently released and there were no real surprises, except that the Tate Modern has overtaken the National Gallery in the fourth spot, DC’s National Gallery of Art slipped to 8th, and Seoul’s National Museum of Korean fell out of the top 10 to 12, while the Vatican Museums (which was not included on the 2011 list) entered the list in the 6th spot.