Industry News

High ticket prices deterring Brits from museums

High ticket prices are among the several reasons that have been linked to steady decline in visitors going to major museums and galleries in the UK.

New analysis of official government figures carried out by the Art Newspaper and studied in comparison with the journal’s attendance statistics, confirms that Britons are making fewer trips to see exhibitions.

Other factors include a pinch on people’s personal incomes and the fear of a terror attacks.

According to the Guardian, Sandy Nairne, who was the director of the National Portrait Gallery until 2015, suspects that money worries are behind the drop in visitor numbers, adding that “pressures on people’s personal budgets are real, and the consistently rising cost of travel has to be a factor”.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s figures show that while 50.8 million visitors went to the 15 museums funded by the central government over the financial year from April 2014, the number for the financial year ending next week will be down to about 46.5 million, the Guardian reports.

The Art Newspaper’s annual attendance survey, carried out over each calendar year, reflects the same sudden fall that followed a peak figure of 25.5 million visitors to the six main national art museums in 2014. Last year almost two million fewer made a visit.

Despite standout hits, including the Pink Floyd show at the V&A, which helped drive attendance up by 26 per cent to 3.8 million, and three blockbuster art exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London, experts from the museum and gallery industry believe ticket price rises introduced following government cuts have put off the public.

Standard tickets for Tate Modern’s current exhibition Picasso 1932 cost £22. Two years ago, tickets for the gallery’s hit show Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs cost £16.30. This is a rise of 35 per cent in four years.

Image: Eric Pouhier