American art museums largely rely on donations not sales

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5th February 2015 15:39 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

According to a recent survey of 220 museums within the Association of Art Museum Directors - which examined the footfall and financial data of American art museums largely rely on donations not salesNorth America, Mexico and Canada’s museums - museums could not operate solely on income from sales within the institution (i.e. ticket prices, food and drink and retail); only 27 per cent of museums’ income was through these sales.

One third of the museums’ income was gained through private donations; i.e. donations from the public, corporations, foundations or people paying to attend the museums’ events or exhibitions.

Also contributing to museums’ income was government funding, which accounted for 18 per cent.  Endowments also accounted for 21 per cent of the income.

The report by the Association of Art Museum Directors highlighted that the average American art museum, mainly relies on donations, government funding and endowments returns.

It was discovered that the average footfall of an American museum during the year was 279,351 and a had cumulative attendance of 67 million.

The report highlighted that each visitor of a museum costs the institution $53.17 in expenses, which heavily outweighs the average cost spend of an individual visitor.

The $53.17 cost per individual is spent, largely, on storage costs, the conservation of works of art, research, administration costs, generating donors and payment for expert advice.

The survey outlined that during 2013-2014, the participating museums accumulated 86,010 new works of art - adding to the total figure of artworks, which now stands at 13,329,116 items.

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