Museums - Statistics & Facts

Museums are typically permanent, though sometimes temporary, places where members of the public can view objects of significance from a variety of disciplines, such as historical, cultural, artistic or even scientific artifacts. In the United States, museums and historical sites generate more than 13 billion U.S. dollars in revenue annually and this number is expected to edge closer to 15 billion by 2018. The most visited museum in the U.S. is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “the Met.” Located in New York City, the Met is the largest museum in the U.S. and attracts more than six million visitors a year. It is home to a vast array of artworks from many historical periods.

On a global scale, the Met is outranked by the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London in terms of visitor numbers. The Louvre is housed in a 12th Century palace and receives more than nine million visitors per year. When the museum opened in 1793 it had just 537 paintings but today holds nearly 35,000 objects.

In the United States, around 32 million people visit art museums every year (as of spring 2015). Among America’s affluent, more than half had visited a museum in the past year as of July 2015 – more than had visited a live music concert. When asked their motivations for attending cultural events during a survey in April 2014, 83 percent of Americans said they did so because they were invited by family or friends.

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