Record breaking year for English museums and galleries

24 October 2019, 20:59

London's Natural History Museum
London's Natural History Museum. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Almost 50 million people visited Government-sponsored museums and galleries last year, the highest number since records began more than 15 years ago.

Venues sponsored by the DCMS were seven of the top 10 most popular free visitor attractions in the UK, and the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum and V&A were in the top 10 most popular art museums in the world in 2018.

Figures show that venues sponsored by the Department of Culture Media and Sport received 49.8 million visits in 2018.

That's the highest number since the department started recording statistics more than 15 years ago.

There was also been a large increase in the number of visitors to museums and galleries outside of London, with the figures revealing an 11% jump compared to the previous year.

The DCMS said this was partially driven by National Museums Liverpool’s (NML) hugely successful China’s first Emperor and The Terracotta Warriors and the Double Fantasy: John and Yoko exhibitions. Overall, NML saw a huge 20 per cent increase in visitor numbers, attracting more than 4 million people last year.

Terracotta Warriors on display as part of the China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum in Liverpool.
Terracotta Warriors on display as part of the China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum in Liverpool. Picture: PA

Arts minister Helen Whately said: “It’s been a blockbuster year for our museums and galleries. I’m delighted that they’re going from strength to strength and attracting audiences from all over the world.

“It’s fantastic to see the huge rise in the number of visits by children and young people – showing that our museums and galleries are doing a great job attracting new audiences and reaching a new generation.”

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