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Institut für Museumsforschung: High Number of Museum Visitors in 2019, Prior to the Coronavirus

19.01.2021
Institut für Museumsforschung

Museums participating in the survey reported a total of 111.6 million visitors in 2019. That’s nearly as many visitors as were recorded in 2018. With the exception of the record-breaking year of 2017, this indicates the number of visitors has remained more or less constant since 2016.

The director of the Institut für Museumsforschung (Institute for Museum Research), Dr. Patricia Rahemipour, notes: “The annual aggregate statistics are an important basis for our application-oriented research with and about museums. Furthermore, they provide important comparative data for assessing the impact of the crisis, especially when reviewed against the backdrop of the current situation.”

Special Exhibitions Trend Remains Intact

Despite a slight decline, the trend towards special exhibitions was uninterrupted: A total of 8255 special exhibitions were reported, or an average of three per institution. More than every second German museum (54%) participating in the survey presented at least one special exhibition in 2019. The fact that the exhibiting museums’ activities remained stable in 2019 was certainly due to the numerous anniversaries that were celebrated that year, from the Bauhaus to dates associated with various historically significant epochs (1919, 1969, 1989) and commemorations of historical figures such as Humboldt, Fontane and others.

No Less than 406 Million Objects

In addition to the annual visitor and exhibition data, the Institut für Museumsforschung also collected basic data for 2019 regarding the collections held by museums in Germany, the resources committed to these collections, and the museums’ strategic approaches to their collections. A good third of the museums contacted (35%) provided information on their collections. According to the data submitted, the number of objects in their holdings in 2019 amounted to at least 406,212,006 objects. On average, about 60% of a museum’s collections were inventoried. Every fifth museum made its collection holdings digitally available to external users, with two thirds of these museums presenting a maximum of 10% of their total holdings online.

The Publication Statistische Gesamterhebung an den Museen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland für das Jahr 2019

Further information and data on the 2019 German museum landscape can be found in the publication Statistische Gesamterhebung an den Museen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland für das Jahr 2019 (Statistical Survey of Museums in the Federal Republic of Germany for 2019), which depicts data on museum visits by museum type and provides information about the individual federal states.

The publication appears in the series Zahlen & Materialien aus dem Institut für Museumsforschung (Statistics and Materials from the Institut für Museumsforschung, formerly Materials from the Institut für Museumsforschung), vol. 75 (2021). It is available for download from the Institut für Museumsforschung website (as of late January).