Museum research compares visitor numbers in the month from reopening in 2021 to the same period pre-pandemic

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17th August 2021 16:18 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Museum research compares visitor numbers in the month from reopening in 2021 to the same period pre-pandemic: A survey of museums and institutions in England has revealed insight into the reduced visitor numbers due to Covid-19 since reopening on May 17 2021. While museums were permitted to reopen, they were still operating with some Covid-19 restrictions in place such as reduced numbers due to social distancing.

The visitor numbers from May 17 - June 13 were compared with the same period in 2019, as well as figures last year.

According to the research, the Science Museum in London recorded the highest number of visitors through its doors during May 17 – June 13, however this was  just 40% of the numbers seen in the same period in 2019, while The National Gallery recorded the lowest numbers of visitors (equating to 13% of those welcomed in 2019).

Overall, Tate welcomed 196,018 people through its doors between 17 May and 13 June, which was around a third of those seen pre pandemic (32%) and 16% of those seen in 2020. Tate Britain welcomed 37% of visitors compared to its 2019 total (52,195), while in 2020 that figure was just 16% of 2019 levels.  

Meanwhile, Tate Modern saw 27% of its 2019 visitor numbers return earlier this year (109,255 visitors), up considerably on the 14% seen in 2020 during the first wave of Covid-19.

Tate Liverpool saw 38% of its pre-pandemic visitor numbers in May - June 2021 (18,102 visitors) compared to 15% in 2020, while Tate St Ives recorded 16,466 visitors -- 66% of those seen in 2019 and much higher than the 40% seen in 2020

Other museums polled included London's V&A, the Natural History Museum and the British Museum.

The Natural History Museum recorded just shy of 120,000 visitors during 17 May - 11 June, which was around a third of the 360,000 seen during the same period in 2019, while the British Museum had around 120,000 visitors, a fifth of what it saw in the same time frame in 2019. A spokesperson for the museum said that this reflects the government guidance and safety measures they were following before full restrictions were lifted.

The V&A had 67,697 visitors during the measured period (17 May - 13 June), which the museum voiced is not comparable to its 2019 figures due to the different exhibitions, galleries and events which take place at any given time.

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