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Monday, February 23, 2015

Fall in visitor numbers to British Art Galleries

There was a report recently that stated that the number of UK visitors to two of our top art galleries (National Gallery and Tate) had fallen whereas  the V&A, National History Museum and British Museum has seen a rise in visitor numbers.

The National Gallery wonders if the British Public only turns out for events where you have to pay to visit but ignore the permanent collection which is free to view.

The BBC arts editor wonders if part of this is that the galleries spend heavily on advertising for events but don't for the free collection. When he visited the British Museum he asked UK visitors why they had chosen it over either the National Gallery or Tate.

I was told by nearly all of those to whom I spoke that the British Museum was a more accessible, child-friendly museum, which had a collection that told a rich historical story and related directly to the school curriculum.

Now here is a thing I have never been to either the National Gallery or the Tate but I have been to the British Museum. The thing is I can't explain to you why, it was only a few years ago that I first went to the National Portrait Gallery (next door to the National Gallery). I thoroughly enjoyed it but I still haven't been to the next door National Gallery.

It's not that I don't like art museums..... I have visited many on my overseas trips and enjoyed them.

The National is still on my visit list as is the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge oh and the Gainsborough museum in Sudbury... every time we get a dodgy weekend I think I ought to go but never do. One day!


Z said...

I rarely visit London without dropping in to the British Museum or the National Gallery. Even if I go for a specific exhibition, I usually go along to a gallery or two to see a few favourite exhibits.

Pete Duxon said...

z- i really must visit! if you've never been then I recommend the wallace collection near Oxford street

Tricia Ryder said...

well ditto on most counts.. I somehow think I must go one day... but... is it the thought of nothing but pictures..? i.e. how much can I absorb in one hit?

Z said...

It's the advantage of it being free, Tricia - Trafalgar Square is central and not hard to get to, and you can just drop in for as short a time as you like.

Thank you, Pete, I have been, though not for some years and a return visit is overdue. If you've never been to Sir John Soane's museum, not far from Holborn tube station (so can be combined with a visit to the British Museum), it's odd but excellent. And there's a great collection of Hogarths, including Rake's Progress.