Art Museum Visits Worldwide in 2023

Marina Abramović | Art Museum Attendance
Marina Abramović at The Royal Academy (installation view). Photo by Zarastro Art

The number of art museum visitors worldwide reached 176 million in 2023, showing improvement from the previous year but still falling short of the pre-pandemic levels of 230 million in 2019. While some museums are recovering gradually, others still struggle to attract visitors, notably those in London.

The Art Newspaper’s annual survey on museum visitor numbers reveals that the National Gallery is down by 48% due to renovation closures, and the Victoria and Albert Museum is experiencing a 21% drop.

The Tate galleries experienced declines, with Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool down by 40%, while Tate Modern saw a 22% decrease with 4.7 million visits. Partially attributed to closures in 2023, Tate Britain operated at 87% and Tate Liverpool at 73% of their pre-COVID averages. The British Museum also fell short, but by smaller margins.

Numerous prominent European institutions, such as the Vatican, the Prado, and the Musée du Louvre, are reaching or even exceeding their 2019 attendance records. In 2023, attendance at some of them—the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Musée d’Orsay—broke records.

Although exact visitor counts were not disclosed, major losses were observed in museums around the United States, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in comparison to 2019.

Globally, recently inaugurated museums including the Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo, the M+ in Hong Kong, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi have declared their best-ever years.

While Chinese museums were not included in the report due to their later release dates, they are expected to have struggled, with closures and permanent closures of some key institutions like OCAT and Guangzhou’s Times Museum.

The survey, conducted in February 2024, utilized data provided by the institutions themselves for the preceding calendar year, making it the most comprehensive worldwide study of museum visitor numbers.


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