The Ratio of Physical versus Website Visitors to Museums

I lately joined the Museum Computer Group which has a very active discussion list, and a question was posed lately about how many physical visitors do museums get, versus website traffic these days. @Mia_out helpfully pointed to the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s “Sponsored Museums: Performance Indicators 2010-11” which included downloadable spreadsheets of performance indicators like physical and web visitors at

Here I’ve quickly juxtaposed the total physical visits to museums sponsored by DCMS with their corresponding total web visits (there arent any more nuanced stats, before you ask). Although the ratio varies from museum to museum (check out the V+A! 8 times as many online visitors as physical visitors!) it just gives demonstrable proof of how important web presence is to cultural and heritage organisations.
Have a look (below, I’m having bother with blogger and tables…). Fascinating.

Institution Total Physical Visits 2010-2011 Total Unique Web Visits 2010-2011 Ratio
British Museum 5,869,396 21,496,815 3.662526
Geffrye Museum 104,691 527,082 5.034645
Horniman Museum 584,974 252,867 0.43227
Imperial War Museum 2,317,639 8,587,082 3.705099
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester 638,347 330,000 0.51696
National Gallery 5,084,929 4,500,000 0.884968
National Maritime Museum 2,450,155 10,052,347 4.102739
National Museums Liverpool 2,635,993 3,176,266 1.20496
National Museum of Science and Industry 4,093,463 15,020,206 3.669315
National Portrait Gallery 1,758,488 13,724,626 7.804788
Natural History Museum 4,812,197 7,397,821 1.537306
Royal Armouries 462,753 403,379 0.871694
Sir John Soane’s Museum 109,604 365,099 3.331074
Tate Gallery 7,450,000 19,427,000 2.607651
Tyne and Wear Museums Service 2,018,233 1,006,250 0.49858
Victoria and Albert Museum 3,049,000 24,976,400 8.191669
Wallace Collection 357,538 305,609 0.854759
Total Visits 43,797,400 131,548,849 3.003577

2 thoughts on “The Ratio of Physical versus Website Visitors to Museums

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!
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