UK Sponsored Museums and Galleries Annual Performance

Saturday, September 29, 2018
UK Sponsored Museums and Galleries Annual Performance

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of United Kingdom released the annual performance indicators for DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries in 2017/18.



Image: British Museum


Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of United Kingdom released the annual performance indicators for DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries in 2017/18.In 2017/18 there were 47.3 million visits to DCMS- sponsored museums and galleries, a similar number to the previous year and an increase of 40.6% since 2002/03.

This release covers the annual performance indicators for DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries in 2017/18. DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries are: 

  • British Museum
  • Geffrye Museum
  • Horniman Museum
  • Imperial War Museums
  • National Gallery
  • National Museums Liverpool
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Natural History Museum
  • Royal Armouries
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Science Museum Group
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • Tate Gallery Group
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The Wallace Collection

The total self-generated income for DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries was £271 million, a fall of 8.3% from £296 million in 2016/17.


British Museum


Visits to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries

In 2017/18, there were 47.3 million visits to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries, a similar level to the previous year. Visits to the sponsored museums and galleries have increased by 40.6% since 2002/03 the first full year of data collection since the introduction of free entry admission to the DCMS- sponsored museums and galleries permanent collections in December 2001. However, following a peak of 49.1 million visits in 2014/15 (excluding Tyne and Wear museums), visits to the sponsored museums have been stable since 2015/16.

For the second year running, the Tate Gallery Group (comprising of five branches) overtook the British Museum as the most visited museum in 2017/18, with 8.2 million visits. This was largely driven by the opening of the Tate Modern 2 ‘Blavatnik building’ extension in June 2016 and the opening of the ‘David Hockney’ exhibition’ in February 2017. However, the 2017/18 figure of 8.2 million visits was a fall of 3.3% from 8.4 million visits in 2016/17.

In 2017/18, visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) increased by around 1 million visits (up 27.8%), the largest absolute and percentage increase compared to other museums. The increase at the V&A can be attributed to the opening of the Exhibition Road Quarter in July 2017, a series of successful exhibitions such as ‘Pink Floyd: The Mortal Remains’ and ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ which attracted a record number of visits for the museum.

There were also increases at the Royal Armouries (up 12.9%), Wallace Collection (up 10.5%), National Museums Liverpool (up 9.0%), Sir John Soane’s Museum (up 7.6%), Royal Museums Greenwich (up 4.9%), Horniman Museum (up 3.6%), Natural History Museum (up 2.3%) and Imperial War Museums (up 2.0%).

The remaining museums each had a decrease in visit figures in 2017/18 compared to the previous year. This includes the National Gallery (down 18.2%), National Portrait Gallery (down 10.0%), British Museum (down 6.5%) and Geffrye Museum (down 5.6%) which has been closed on 7 January 2018 to commence its two year capital project. 


Overseas visitors

There were an estimated 22.4 million visits to sponsored museums in 2017/18 by overseas visitors, accounting for 47.6% of all visits. 

This was an increase of 1.4% from 22.1 million visits in 2016/17.

The Royal Armouries (particularly the White Tower site) museum had the largest proportion of overseas visitors in 2017/18 (66.9%), closely followed by the National Gallery (63.4%) and the British Museum (62.7%).

The Imperial War Museums had a record year for the museum attracting over 1 million overseas visitors, a 9.2% increase on 2016/17. This was driven by the increased
press coverage at the Churchill War Rooms site since the release of the
Darkest Hour movie in January 2018. The majority of the film was also shot at this site.

The increase in overseas visits at the Royal Museums Greenwich (109.2%) can be attributed to the museum’s increased initiative to attract overseas visits in particular the Chinese market. Chinese visitors accounted for 8.3% of all Royal Museums Greenwich overseas visitors in 2017/18. 

Performance Indicators is an Official Statistic and has been produced to the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.





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