Mu­seum and Art Gallery sees a sharp fall in vis­i­tor num­bers

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - David Bent­ley Staff Re­porter

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

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