Museum and Art Gallery sees a sharp fall in visitor numbers
BIRMINGHAM Museum and Art Gallery has seen a substantial drop in its visitor numbers in a new tourism survey.
The attraction, in Chamberlain Square, experienced a fall of almost a quarter in attendance figures for 2017 compared with the previous year.
The latest annual survey by VisitEngland recorded that 602,000 people visited the museum in 2017, a substantial decrease of 23 per cent on the 2016 figure of 780,000.
Despite that, the museum was still the second most visited free attraction in the West Midlands last year, beaten only by the MAC (Midland Arts Centre) in Cannon Hill Park which had 1.13 million people through its doors, virtually the same as the year before.
Museum bosses have blamed city centre development work for the drop in numbers but say they are getting back on track in 2018, which is set to be a bumper year because of the Dippy the dinosaur exhibit, running until September 9.
Ellen McAdam, director of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Overall our visitor figures across Birmingham Museums Trust have been growing since we became a charity in 2012.
“The 2017 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) results were anticipated following a number of city centre works taking place near the site, which had an inevitable impact on footfall.
“With improved access to the building and Dippy on Tour proving extremely popular with visitors, as BMAG’s most successful temporary exhibition to date, visitor numbers have increased significantly this year.
“In February 2019 we will also be hosting an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci drawings, as part of the Royal Collection Trust’s event to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, which will continue to drive footfall to the museum.”
However, Birmingham Mus- eum and Art Gallery is set to close in October 2019 for three years while it undergoes major renovation.
A new multi-million pound collection centre at the former Pool Way Shopping Centre in Yardley is set to be up and running by 2020/21, allowing public access to thousands of artefacts.
Much of the collection, which contains around a million objects in total, lies in storage at the Museum Collection Centre on Dollman Street in Nechells.
The earliest some of the museum’s own galleries will reopen is 2022, in time for Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games.
> Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is to close for three years