Art Fund: 66m museum visits planned - but to big names, not little gems

Art Fund has launched a new booking hub to encourage the public to visit smaller museums and galleries this summer, in the face of research showing that visitors prefer the big name institutions.

The fund's commissioned research shows that although, with museums and galleries finally fully open, museumgoers are planning 66m visits, two-thirds are heading for major places rather than the “little gem” local museums.

Art Pass Unbooked https://unbooked.artfund.org/ - which can be used by anyone, whether they have Art Fund’s National Art Pass  https://www.artfund.org/national-art-pass or not - brings together hundreds of museums and galleries from across the UK for the first time in a one-stop cultural shop, giving information on the nearest museums, ricket availability and the facility to book, said Jenny Waldman, Art Fund’s director. “Our new research shows that many visitors expect to encounter crowds and queues” she said. “To open up the possibilities and support local museums and galleries across the UK, we have launched Art Pass Unbooked allowing users to search among hundreds of museums and galleries, find availability, and book a spontaneous day out.

“Our research also shows that the vast majority of trips planned this summer will be to the bigger name institutions, but I'd urge people not to forget about their local museums and galleries over the summer and to support them as they recover. Smaller, local museums offer an incredible array of collections, exhibitions and activities and staycations are the perfect opportunity to discover the UK's amazing local museums" she said.

The research, conducted for the fund by Opinium in July, showed that people are expecting price hikes as museums try to recoup some of the losses incurred during the pandemic lockdowns, and some experiencing over-demand already, with 20% saying that they had been unable to book tickets because they were sold out.

Art Fund has also selected its ten top picks for hidden gems with National Art Pass benefits to visit. They are:

  • Museum of Brands in central London
  • Hastings Contemporary
  • Gairloch Museum in a former nuclear bunker on the banks of Loch Gairloch
  • Towner Eastbourne
  • Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft in Sussex
  • Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery, Bournemouth
  • Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth in West Yorkshire
  • Scottish Football Museum in Glasgow’s Hampden Park Stadium
  • Museum of Carpets, Kidderminster (pictured)
  • Pankhurst Centre, Manchester
  • MOMA Machynlleth in West Wales

 

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