Average American spends just $8 when visiting an Art Museum

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2nd February 2015 13:07 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

A recent survey of 236 members of the Association of Art Museum Directors in the United States has provided an insight into the ecosystem of Average American spends just $8 when visiting an Art MuseumNorth America’s museums.

According to the report entitled: “Art Museums by the Numbers 2014”, of the 61 million visits to art museums in North America in the last year, each visitor spent just $8 on admission, eating and retail.

However, despite the tiny average spend of visitors, museums invested $53 on each visitor. As a result, revenue covered just 15 per cent of their total expenses.

Museums don’t just rely on admission costs and retail spending, they also depend on private donations. Public donations made up 54 per cent of contributions and corporate donations accounted for just 13 per cent.

In 2014, 73,000 works of art were donated or entrusted to art museums. This figure is 6 times the amount of works of art which were bought by museums.

Over two thirds of the museums’ expenses in 2014 were used to support collections, exhibitions, education and infrastructure.

Christine Anagnos, executive director of the Association of Art Museum Directors said that she found the results reassuring.  She claimed that, “These numbers tell us museums invest a lot in their visitors and in their communities. Private financial support is also essential and corporate philanthropy isn’t as strong as it used to be. That’s coming through loud and clear in this report.”

She anticipates to release annual figures from now on, as a public resource to track museum trends over time.

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