Museums dependent on blockbusters

Worldwide figures show Louvre back on top

Museum visitor numbers are increasingly dependent on the impact of major refurbishments or blockbuster exhibitions, according to a new report.

International marketing agency AECOM, which conducts a regular analysis of museum attendance figures across the globe, says expansions and blockbuster exhibitions are still the likeliest drivers of museum attendance. It suggests the attendance drop for the Tate Modern in 2017 was to be expected after the record prior year following their expansion.

The report adds that museums like the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, which had a massive hit with its Vogue exhibition, experienced a decline in attendance in the year following their most popular exhibitions. 

However, despite the fall in numbers, three London museums still make it to the top ten most visited in the world. They are the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery.

An increase in tourism confidence and the Vermeer exhibition were the likely drivers of the increase in attendance at the Louvre of 9.5%, which restored it to its former position as the top-attended museum in the world, says the AECOM report.

Museums in Europe like U.S. museums need to remain relevant in the face of changing demographics, says AECOM. “As Germany continues to welcome the greatest intake of refugees across the E.U., it has become critical to encourage cultural integration rather than mirroring the mistakes of past immigration schemes,” it says.

AECOM, together with the theme park industry association TEA, conducts an annual study of museums attendance alongside its analysis of growth in the global themed entertainment industry, including theme parks, water parks and museums.


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