Association News

Museums Association: Children Miss Out on Educational Visits

Educational visits and the participation of young people in on-site activities have fallen at national museums in England, according to performance indicators released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 

According to the MA website, there were an estimated 2m facilitated and self-directed visits by people under the age of 18 and in formal education in 2015-16 – a 6.7% decrease on 2014-15. The decrease, however, is 3.1% without the inclusion Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, which was not sponsored by DCMS in 2015-16.

The Science Museum Group had the most educational visits with 486,000 in 2015-16, followed by the British Museum, which had 259,000 educational visits over the same period. Among the museums experiencing a decrease in educational visits from 2014-15 to 2015-16 are: the National Portrait Gallery (44,696-41,190), Royal Armouries (13,861-11,229), National Museums Gallery (183,289 – 163,465) and the National Gallery (146,000 – 108,510).

The figures also show that the proportion of visitors under the age of 18 taking part in on-site activities in 2015-16 decreased by 11.5% since 2014-15. This figure is 6.9% without Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.  

In 2015-16 there were around 2.5 million instances of young visitors participating in on-site events, compared to 2.8 million in 2014-15 – a 24.4% increase on 2.2 million in 2013-14.

In 2015-16 the Science Museum Group had the largest amount of visits for such on-site activities (830,000 across its five branches), followed by Tate with 254,000 of visits across its four branches.

Among the museums experiencing a fall in these types of visits from 2014-15 to 2015-16 were: London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum (705-642), National Museums Liverpool (214,019-207,037) and the Natural History Museum (542,029-251,560).