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Museums worldwide - statistics & facts

Museums are institutions that acquire, preserve, interpret, and exhibit artifacts of artistic, cultural, scientific, and historical importance. According to an estimate by UNESCO, there were roughly 95 thousand such organizations in the world as of May 2020, with the regions of North America and Western Europe reporting the highest number of museums worldwide. Meanwhile, the United States topped the list of the countries worldwide ranked by number of museums, accounting for more than one-third of all institutions.

The most visited museums in the world

In 2019, the Louvre in Paris, France, was the most visited museum worldwide, attracting approximately 9.6 million visitors. The National Museum of China in Beijing and the Vatican Museums in the Vatican City placed second and third, respectively, in the ranking. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom was the country reporting the highest aggregated attendance at most visited museums in the world. The nation's capital city, London, played a key role in this as it is where many of the most visited British museums are based. The majority of these establishments are sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and, in the 2019/2020 financial year, the Tate Gallery Group, British Museum, and National Gallery were the DCMS sponsored museums in England with the highest number of visitors.

The COVID-19 impact and the digitalization of museums

The museum industry has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as institutions worldwide had to close to the public in light of stay-at-home measures and emergency restrictions. According to a November 2020 survey, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the average number of visitors to museums worldwide. The same study showed that 20 percent of surveyed North American organizations predicted that museums' revenue losses during the pandemic would be higher than 50 percent in 2020. About 14 percent of interviewed European institutions believed the same. Overall, while the health crisis forced several museums to close, many institutions made the most of digital possibilities. Research done in November 2020 showed that 42 percent of surveyed museums worldwide increased their social media activities after the lockdown.

Key figures

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Attendance

Museums in North America

Museums in Europe

Museums in other regions

Interesting statistics

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Museums worldwide

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Museums worldwide - statistics & facts

Museums are institutions that acquire, preserve, interpret, and exhibit artifacts of artistic, cultural, scientific, and historical importance. According to an estimate by UNESCO, there were roughly 95 thousand such organizations in the world as of May 2020, with the regions of North America and Western Europe reporting the highest number of museums worldwide. Meanwhile, the United States topped the list of the countries worldwide ranked by number of museums, accounting for more than one-third of all institutions.

The most visited museums in the world

In 2019, the Louvre in Paris, France, was the most visited museum worldwide, attracting approximately 9.6 million visitors. The National Museum of China in Beijing and the Vatican Museums in the Vatican City placed second and third, respectively, in the ranking. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom was the country reporting the highest aggregated attendance at most visited museums in the world. The nation's capital city, London, played a key role in this as it is where many of the most visited British museums are based. The majority of these establishments are sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and, in the 2019/2020 financial year, the Tate Gallery Group, British Museum, and National Gallery were the DCMS sponsored museums in England with the highest number of visitors.

The COVID-19 impact and the digitalization of museums

The museum industry has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as institutions worldwide had to close to the public in light of stay-at-home measures and emergency restrictions. According to a November 2020 survey, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the average number of visitors to museums worldwide. The same study showed that 20 percent of surveyed North American organizations predicted that museums' revenue losses during the pandemic would be higher than 50 percent in 2020. About 14 percent of interviewed European institutions believed the same. Overall, while the health crisis forced several museums to close, many institutions made the most of digital possibilities. Research done in November 2020 showed that 42 percent of surveyed museums worldwide increased their social media activities after the lockdown.

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