National Gallery visitor figures slump

The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are losing visitors, by 20% and 42% respectively, according to figures for May to December 2017 published in The Times.

While national museums and galleries have been experiencing a boom since admission charges were abolished in 2001, the two Trafalgar Square institutions are seeing their biggest slump for years.  

A spokeswoman for the NPG said: “The first five months of the year are in comparison with the period of the Vogue 100; A Century of Style exhibition which was one of the most popular in the gallery’s history. While there is no single factor behind this decline, the gallery is working with our neighbours and other museums and galleries in London on research and initiatives to encourage additional visitors”.

 Arguments that the drop is due to fears of Brexit and of terrorist attacks are to blame are volunteered by the fact that other London museums and galleries are seeing figures soar, Tate Britain at Millbank by 53.3%, the V&A in South Kensington by 29.4%, Somerset House by almost 30% and the Royal Academy by 33%. A more likely contributor to the National Gallery’s fall is the 100 days of strike action by security guards last year.

A drop of 11.7% for Tate Modern could be accounted for by the falling away of a boom after the opening of its new Blavatnic buildings in 2-0016. According to the most recent figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva) for 2016, the British Museum’s visitor numbers were also down, by 5,2%, but it is still the country’s most popular tourist attraction with 6.8m. Alva will publish figures for 2017 on March 17.cor May to December 2017.

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