Museum visits around the world fell by 77% in 2020, according to global survey

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1st April 2021 14:43 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Museum visits around the world fell by 77% in 2020: A survey conducted by The Art Newspaper has revealed that as a result of the global pandemic, museum visits to 100 of the world's most visited art museums fell by more than three-quarters (77%) last year.

Impacted greatly by the fall in tourism, attendance fell to just 54 million worldwide, from 230 million in 2019 because of forced closures due to Covid-19. The number of days that museums were closed on average was 145, which collectively adds up to more than 41,000 opportunities to visit, lost to Covid-19.

Most visited

The Musée du Louvre in Paris was the most visited museum in 2020 with 2,700,000 visitors; however, the numbers are way below attendance figures for 2019 – falling by 72% after spending 150 days closed due to the pandemic. In second was the National Museum of China (1,600,000) which saw a 78% fall in attendance since the previous year.

Tate Modern in London was the most visited UK museum, although it experienced a 77% drop in attendance in 2020, welcoming just 1,432,991 visitors through its doors and spending 173 days of the year closed. It finished ahead of the British Museum (1,275,466 visitors – and ranking fifth), which has held the UK top spot for the last decade apart from in 2018, when Tate Modern surpassed it. The British Museum saw numbers fall by 80% having to close its doors for 208 days (compared to the Tate’s 173).

The National Gallery (1,197,143 visitors) ranked in eighth place globally for visitor numbers in 2020, falling by 80% after spending 155 days closed to visitors.

Of all the museums in the top 10, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – saw the greatest fall in visitor figures (83%), after spending 202 days of the year, closed to the public. 

Top Ten most visited museums in world 2020

1. Musée du Louvre, Paris - 2,700,000 visits - 72% fall since 2019

2. National Museum of China - 1,600,000 visits - 78% fall since 2019

3. Tate Modern 1,432,991 visits - 77% fall since 2019

4. Vatican Museums 1,3000,000 visits - 81% - fall since 2019

5. British Museum - 1,275,466 visits - 80% fall since 2019

6. Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid) - 1,248,486 visits - 72% fall since 2019

7. State Russian Museum - 1,203,324 visits - 50% fall since 2019

8. National Gallery (UK) - 1,197,143 visits - 80% fall since 2019

9. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York -1,124,759 visits - 83% fall since 2019

10. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan) - 971,256 visits - 63% fall since 2019

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