British photographic history

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COVID-19 impacts audiences at national museums and galleries in 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on DCMS funded museums and galleries in 2020 has been laid bare by new research showing an average 74 per cent decline in visitor numbers for the period January-September 2020 against the previous year.

For those institutions closely involved with photography, the V&A Museum, London, saw a drop from 3,084,702 for the first nine months in 2019 to 796,708 in 2020. The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, saw a drop from 340,944 to 102,155. 

For the period after September the drop in numbers was closer to 90 per cent as London locked down and other regions were placed in tiers that did not allow museums and galleries to re-open to the public, or severely limited visitor admissions.

With a UK countries in a lockdown that will remain in place until at least 8 March 2021 and most regions then likely to be placed in tiers that would prevent public re-opening the first half of 2021 looks to be set for an equally first six months.

The initial data research was commissioned by Download an infographic here;  diys-uk-museum-and-gallery-visitor-numbers-infographic.jpg

Visitor numbers for the later period and other metrics are available on the DCMS website:

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