Museums Serve the Public
- Museums provide many social services, including education programs for local children.
- In 2011, more than 1,500 museums participated in the Blue Star Museums initiative, offering free admission to all active-duty and reserve personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Museums Are Trustworthy
- Americans view museums as one of the most important resources for educating our children and as one of the most trustworthy sources of objective information.
- Museums are considered a more reliable source of historical information than books, teachers or even personal accounts by relatives, according to a study by Indiana University.
- Museums preserve and protect more than a billion objects.
Museums Are Popular
- Americans from all income and education ranges visit museums.
- There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (471 million).
- Museum volunteers contribute a million hours of service every week.
Museums Partner with Schools
- Museums spend more than $2.2 billion a year on education; the typical museum devotes three-quarters of its education budget to K-12 students.
- Museums receive more than 90 million visits each year from students in school groups.
- Museums provide each year more than 18 million instructional hours for guided tours for students, staff visits to schools, school outreach through science vans and other traveling exhibits, and professional development for teachers.
Museums Are Economic Engines
- Museums employ 400,000 Americans.
- Museums contribute $21 billion to the U.S. economy each year.
- Trips including cultural and heritage activities account for over 23% of all domestic travel, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
- 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities.
- The nonprofit arts and culture industry annually generates over $166 billion in economic activity, supports over 5.7 million full-time jobs and returns over $12 billion in federal income taxes.
- Governments that support the arts see an average return on investment of over $7 in taxes for every $1 that the government appropriates, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Museums Serve Every Community…
- At least 22% of museums are located in rural areas.
- One-third of U.S. museums are always free to the public, and more than 97% of the rest offered discounts, special fee schedules or free admission days.
…But Are Struggling to Meet Community Needs
- Only a small (and shrinking) percentage of America’s 17,500+ museums receive federal funding of any kind.
- The weak economy has led to a decline in charitable gifts and to reductions in state and local support for museums.
Information courtesy of American Alliance of Museums