Museum visiting figures released by DCMS

Quite a few newspapers have picked up the story of museum visiting figures this week, after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) released some figures in a press release titled Four Years After Scrapping Entry Charges - Free Admission Is Still A Growing Success on Monday.

Current Culture Minister David Lammy commented that the figures showed that "free admission has been a huge success". Whilst that's undoubtably true on the whole, there are a few minus numbers in the figures, mostly for museums that have always been free, such as the British Museum (number of visits down 6% over the past four years), the National Gallery (-14%) and, worst of the lot, the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (NMPFT), which is down 30%.

Bad news for the NMPFT then, which is part of the same 'NMSI' group of museums as the Science Museum, where I work, but they've got their recent successful film festival 2006, which apparently featured a Kes reunion, to be happy about instead. The Science Museum itself has experienced an increase of 55% in the number of visits over the past four years, although like many museums we've experience a downturn since the London bombings (-11% on average across the London museums).