Global Museum Attendance Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels - TOMATO Project

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Global Museum Attendance Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

More than 4 years after the outbreak of Covid-19, the world’s top museums are still struggling with the aftermath of the pandemic, with a slow but steady recovery.

According to a survey conducted by The Art Newspaper, the total number of visitors to the top 100 museums worldwide reached 176 million in 2023. This represents a significant increase from the 141 million recorded in 2022, yet it remains a shy number if compared to the 230 million visitors in 2019, before the global health crisis.

London’s most famous art museums had a tough time, while some European museums did better than before the pandemic. For example, London’s National Gallery had 48% fewer visitors than in 2019 due to ongoing renovations affecting part of the museum. Similarly, the Victoria and Albert Museum had 21% fewer visitors.

The Tate group, which includes Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate Modern, faced a collective downturn. Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool had 40% fewer visitors. But Tate Modern still had 4.7 million visitors, which is 22% fewer than in 2019. A Tate spokesperson said that even though Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool were closed for parts of 2023, they still had 87% and 73% of the number of visitors they used to have before the pandemic.

On the contrary, several European museums showcased relevant resilience. Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum maintained its 2019 visitor numbers, while the Musée d’Orsay in Paris exceeded its pre-pandemic figures by 6%. Florence’s Galleria degli Uffizi witnessed an increase of 15%, scoring the record of 2.7 million visitors.

The The Art Newspaper report didn’t share how many people visited U.S. museums, but earlier data shows a drop in numbers. In 2022, museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art had fewer visitors than in 2019. This highlights how the pandemic continues to affect cultural activities worldwide.

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