DCMS Sponsored Museum Visit Trends

An analysis of factors impacting on visits to DCMS Sponsored Museums

A decline in visits to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)-sponsored museums across England between 2014 and 2018, particularly in London, sparked this study to understand what factors might drive, or constrain, museum visitation. 

MHM agreed research objectives with DCMS, undertook desk research to explore trends, and together generated a range of hypotheses on what might lie behind the drop in visits.

These hypotheses reflected the political, economic, social, technological and environmental and legal (PESTEL) factors that might impact on museums. They also included a consideration of the sponsored museums’ own activities.

We conducted extensive secondary research plus primary qualitative and quantitative fieldwork with both domestic and international audiences. 

Our analysis of the key factors that have the greatest positive or negative impact on visits has generated a series of recommendations for the future. Several of these recommendations require investment and, as such, are inherently tied to the level of financial support available to the museum group. Our hope is that this insight will support the sector in continuing to provide remarkable experiences for millions of people for many years to come.

This study was completed in January 2020, and the full report is now available online via the DCMS website. While the onset of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the sector, this report provides a comprehensive baseline of the sector and audiences pre-pandemic. 

Image copyright Royal Museums Greenwich


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