The American Association of Museums has published a report which analyzes 2003-05 statistics from more than 800 museums across the country. Even if your museum, or historic site is much smaller there is a lot of information to be gleaned from this report.
To put the data in this blog post in perspective, here are the median statistics for the 800 museums included in the study. Median attendance has held steady at 34,000 visitors a year since 2000, with 15 percent of that coming from school visits. The median museum has operating expenses of $783,000 and a staff of six fulltime employees, four part-timers and 60 volunteers, the study says.
Overall, the study says, museums are in better financial shape now than in 2003, with a third fewer institutions reporting deficits.
That improvement occurred as government support for museums declined to about one in four dollars of operating income, and as private support grew to account for more than one in three dollars of income.
Museum endowments also grew, with almost half crediting new contributions and more than half citing changes in financial markets.
And almost one in four institutions is currently involved in a capital campaign, with a median goal of $10 million.
Fundraising remains critical for museums, given that the median cost of serving a visitor is $23, the study says, compared to a median admission fee of $6.
Major benchmarking takaways whether you are a large or small museum:
Government support averages 25%
25% of museums are having a capital campaign
Fundraising is cricial
Median cost of serving a visitor - $23
Median admission fee - $6.
Hmmm...some food for thought...........
Happy New Year!
Marion Conway Consulting