Thursday, March 19, 2009

More on Increased Attendance for Museums

What I like about this article is that, well, yes, it is happy news about museum attendance in the past year, but it also talks about the difficulties and inaccuracies with using attendance as a metric. First of all, what do we count as a visit? Do we count everyone who walks in the door? What if a staff member walks in the front door instead of the staff entrance the guard doing the clicking doesn't recognize the staff member? What about museum members? They aren't bringing in additional money with their repeated visits, at least not through admissions. What about other sorts of members who may have reciprocal privileges and can therefore visit the museum for free? What about school groups--do they get counted separately? So, yes, it is good that museum visit numbers are up, but what does that really mean when all is said and done?

Second, the article offers suggestions for why we are seeing an increase in attendance, such as the fact that astronomical gas prices have kept people closer to home--talk of "staycations" were all the rage this past summer, or citing the "Bilbao effect" (note: the Bilbao effect, when the architecture of a museum inspires and increase in visitorship, is a temporary effect and should not be counted upon for sustained increases!).

No comments:

Post a Comment