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Museums: Attendance Up, Money Down


by Jerome Weeks 26 Feb 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports that in tough times, Americans head to museums — children’s, science, history or art museums. One good reason for that you won’t find until the bottom of the article:  “Many museums’ admissions fees remain free or are relatively inexpensive. … The average price of admission was $7, the same as […]

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The Wall Street Journal reports that in tough times, Americans head to museums — children’s, science, history or art museums. One good reason for that you won’t find until the bottom of the article:  “Many museums’ admissions fees remain free or are relatively inexpensive. … The average price of admission was $7, the same as in 2008.”

According to the the American Association of Museums, 57 percent of all museums  saw a jump in attendance in 2009.  Science and technology museums saw the broadest gains, with 81 percent reporting an increase, while half of art museums said they saw visitor growth.

But bigger crowds didn’t necessarily mean a financial windfall for museums. About half reported a decline in total revenue in 2009, according to the survey. And 18 percent of museums described their financial condition as “very severe.”

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