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Metropolitan Museum attendance highest in more than 40 years

July 18, 2012

“High Point: Shandaken Mountains” (1853), by Asher Brown Durand. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If you hear Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (pt. 3) emanating from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, well that’s because they had a good year (when measured by attendance figures) – some 6.28 million people visited during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. According to the museum’s press release on Artfix Daily:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that 6.28 million people visited the Met during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The number, which includes attendance at The Cloisters museum and gardens, is the highest recorded since the Metropolitan Museum began tracking visitor attendance more than 40 years ago. The total number of visitors was nearly 600,000 greater than in Fiscal Year 2011.
“We are delighted by this extraordinary response to the Met’s collections, exhibitions, and programs over the past year,” said Thomas P. Campbell, the Metropolitan Museum’s Director and CEO. “Anchoring this success was the public’s interest in the new galleries for our Islamic collection and our American Wing, with each of those areas receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors in their inaugural months. Attendance at our exhibitions, which covered a broad spectrum of topics traversing centuries and geographic areas, was also strong throughout the year. The growth of our audience—frequent as well as first-time visitors from around the world—once again demonstrates that the Met is a truly global museum for this truly global city.”
Visitors in Fiscal Year 2012 were drawn in large numbers to the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia (opened November 1, 2011) and the New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts (opened January 19, 2012). As of June 30, 2012, these gallery areas had 593,000 and 365,000 visitors respectively.
Exhibition attendance was also particularly strong through June 30 for The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde with 324,000 visitors, The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini (205,000), Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City (179,000), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (166,000), and The Game of Kings: Medieval Ivory Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis at The Cloisters (97,000).
Last summer’s popular exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty—which closed on August 7, 2011, and had extended hours in its final weeks—drew 662,000 visitors. It contributed to the record attendance in Fiscal Year 2012 during its final five weeks (July 1, 2011, through closing day).

The 6.28 million attendance figures includes nearly 218,000 school visitors who were welcomed by the Museum, nearly 3,200 more than the previous year. Membership has now reached a record-breaking 170,000. Additionally, the Metropolitan Museum’s website had 44 million visits in Fiscal Year 2012. The Museum’s Facebook page now has more than 677,000 fans and its Twitter feed has more than 471,000 followers.
 

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