Is Art Museum Attendance Declining Across the US?Breaking News
tags: art, Art Museums
Art and culture museums may be in trouble. Statistical evidence coming out of the scene in Baltimore, which seems to be finding corroboration nationwide, conveys a narrative of museum visiting being on the downtrend. Mary Carole McCauley, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun has recently written about precipitous declines in attendance, citing drops in annual attendance at the Baltimore Museum of Art of 12.7% in the last 15 years, at the Walters Art Museum of 24.1% from a peak of 195,000 visitors in 2008, and at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, which has seen attendance sink 53% from the opening-year high of 104,500 visitors.
These are sobering numbers; however, this report does arrive with a few caveats. The Baltimore Museum is actually recovering from a sharp fall in visits after closing 60% of its galleries for a renovation project which began in 2011. The full museum only reopened about three years ago evincing a 36% decrease in attendance since 2002. But the end of the 2017 fiscal year, attendance had climbed to 246,100, commensurate with the levels for 2005, though still not as robust as earlier years.
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