Museum attendance, and museum stress, up

March 3, 2010
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An American Association of Museums taken in January of 2010 (results published here) makes it appear that more people are taking advantage of museum offerings.

Some of the interesting results:

--More than 55% of museums noted an increase in attendence, with 14.6% seeing a greater than 20% boost.

--Science/technology museums noted the largest increases.

--62.8% of Midwest museums noted an increase--the largest reported for any region.

--Contrary to the "cultural tourism" push, one of the prime reasons given for the increases is "more aggressive marketing to local visitors."

--Museums that charged an entry fee were less likely to see increases.

--Midwest museums are near the top in reporting that they are under "severe or very severe stress."

There is a caveat or two: First, museums aren't consistant when it comes to tallying these numbers. Some include visitors to museum grounds while others don't. Second, the survey was completed by 481 museums, which may sound substantial until you note that there are 2,300 institutions in the AAM.

Even with those notes, is there something substantial to be learned here?

In tough economic times, have you spent more of your leisure time at museums?

I'm still running into people who don't realize that our Indianapolis Museum of Art is free. Is that news to you?

Oh, and for a satiric look at the issue, see a brief man-on-the-street report from the not-really-the-news site The Onion.

Your thoughts?

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  • Another reason
    Your article states the reports says "more aggressive marketing to local visitors" is a reason for the increase in numbers. could it be that people are sticking closer to home and using local resourses for vacations? Just a thought.
  • correlative evidence
    A rise in museum attendance is wonderful news! I would venture a guess that the increase in visitor numbers is in spite of increases in advertising, not necessarily because of it. Correlation does not imply causation.
  • Honest Abe
    Just a note - My husband and I love to pinball our way throughout the IMA - and it is a fabulous bargain (free!) In addition, I wanted to give props to the Indiana State Museum and its Lincoln exhibit. I have to admit I was thrilled to see the large number of people visiting the exhibit last Saturday!
    The museum has timed visits and they did an outstanding job of preventing the exhibit from experiencing a Lincoln logjam.
  • How about that art
    You mean the Seurat's "The Channel at Gravelines" is not an Ishihara color test plate? I never did see any hidden numbers in that painting.
    It is a privilege to live in a community with a free major art museum like IMA

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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