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State-sponsored UK museum visits drop for 2015/16

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New data from the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has showed a year-on-year decline in state-sponsored museum visits, with a significant decline in child attendance.

According to the DCMS’s Sponsored Museums Performance Indicators 2015/16, over the last year there were 47.6 million visits to the UK’s 15 sponsored museums which provide free entry to their permanent collections – a 6.2 per cent decline from 50.7 million in 2014/15.

Within that figure there were 7.9 million child visits to DCMS-sponsored museums, which marked a larger decline of 14.4 per cent on the previous year’s total

The figures are somewhat lessened when including the Tyne and Wear Museums, which are no longer sponsored as of 2015/16. Excluding Tyne and Wear, there was still an overall decline of 2.8 per cent and a 1.8 per cent decline in terms of children’s visitor numbers.

Out of the UK’s state-sponsored museums, the most visited was the British Museum, which welcomed 6.9 million visitors, followed by the Tate Gallery Group’s four branches, with 6.7 million visitors combined.

For child visits the Science Museum Group – which comprises the London Science Museum, National Media Museum, National Railway Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry – had the largest share, with 1.9 million children aged 15 or under coming through its doors. The Natural History Museum was second with 1.3 million visits.

Overseas visits accounted for 47.1 per cent of 2015/16’s figures, with an estimated 22.4 million visits. This figure was consistent with 2014/15 when overseas visitors totalled 47 per cent of all visits.

The next release is scheduled for Q3 2017. Culture secretary Karen Bradley and minister for exiting the European Union, Robin Walker, recently stated that a post-Brexit Britain’s museums, galleries and theatres will play a key role in promoting the country overseas, with the government keen to push its culture sector as a priority.

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New data from the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has showed a year-on-year decline in state-sponsored museum visits, with a significant decline in child attendance.
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