Compton Verney maintains visitor figures for 2020

Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire has maintained its visitor numbers through the 2020 pandemic year by combining actual with virtual visits.

Despite tier regulations and two lockdowns the attraction was able to welcome almost exactly the same number in 2020 as it did in 2019.

Director Julie Finch put the success down to the “tenacious spirit” of staff and volunteers, and being able to adapt in response to the virus.

In 2020 the venue was able to record 78,758 visitors compared with 79,473 in 2019, and in December 2020 alone welcomed more than 8,000.

“Although the main house was closed for twenty weeks and the grounds for eleven, the tenacious spirit of the team soon became evident” Finch said. “We realised we had to adapt our offer from a physical visitor experience to an online one. In the early days of lockdown our curators made a series of video tours that enabled people to see the exhibitions and learn more about them and our permanent collections. These proved hugely popular and helped us to considerably increase our presence on social media at the same time.”

Compton Verney is an award-winning independent art gallery in a Grade I-listed Georgian mansion set in 120 acres of Grade II-listed Capability Brown parkland with permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. 2020 began with Cranach: Artist & Innovator and Fabric: Touch & Identity which was forced to close early by the first lockdown.

“When we were allowed to re-open our grounds, so that people could enjoy the positive aspects of being outdoors in a beautiful and historic landscape, we enhanced the visitor experience by holding the first outdoor event of the summer, a creative intervention of music, spheres and dance, and through commissioning the Birmingham-based artist Foka Wolf to create a new series of fun signposts that were inspired by our renowned Folk Art collection” Finch said. “We also created a series of family-focused activities for half term and were able to introduce our dramatic Firegarden as part of our winter festival, events and trails. During the build up to Christmas we even turned the exterior of the house into a huge advent calendar, with each new window unveiled every day on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.”


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