Search
Close this search box.
89% of UK adults think museums are important to UK culture

Survey highlights huge public support for UK museums, National Museum Directors’ Council, 9 May 2024

A new survey has demonstrated how highly the UK public value their museums.

89% of UK adults think museums are important to UK culture, with nearly half (47%) saying they are very important. Three quarters (76%) of UK adults think having a local museum adds value to their area, and the same percentage think museums should receive at least half of their funding from government.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by Art Fund and NMDC, also found that:

  • 48% of UK adults visit museums at least once a year, with 35% of adults visiting twice or more. 51% of those with children said that their children visit museums at least once a year.
  • 89% of UK adults think museums are important to UK culture, 47% think they are very important and only 7% think they are not important.
  • According to the UK public, the most important functions of a local museum are for education purposes, to preserve the past, and to connect with local history (62%, 59% and 56% respectively).[1]
  • 54% of UK adults would feel disappointed and 41% would feel sad if their local museum were to close. 19% would be angry and 16% frustrated.[2]
  • Almost half (47%) think that museums in the UK should be mostly or entirely funded by government, and only 3% think that they should be entirely funded by other sources such as private investment and income generated from visitors.
  • When asked specifically about local museums, 74% said local government should provide at least half of their funding, with 45% saying that local government should provide most or all of their funding.

 

When asked if they think public funding for local museums has gone up or down since 2022, 44% of people correctly identified that it has gone down[3], with only 9% thinking it has stayed the same and 4% thinking it has gone up.

Notes:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,121 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th – 26th April 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). Full tables of all the survey data are on the YouGov website here: https://ygo-assets-websites-editorial-emea.yougov.net/documents/ArtFundNMDC_Museums_240426.pdf

[1] Figures total over 100% as participants were asked to select up to three options.

[2] Figures total over 100% as participants were asked to select up to three options.

[3] Net current expenditure on museums and galleries by Local Authorities decreased by 11% in real terms, from £206.27m in 2021-22 to £183.05m in 2022-23: www.artscouncil.org.uk/research-and-data/research-understand-levels-public-investment-museums