Celebrating ten years of free admission!

  • 1 December 2011

It's been a decade since the Art Fund and the UK's national museums campaigned for free admission - and what a success it's been. Over 50 million people have visited the UK's national museums last year alone.

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

It's been a decade since the Art Fund and the UK's national museums campaigned for free admission – and what a success it's been! Over 50 million people have visited the UK's national museums last year alone.

Museums such as the Natural History Museum have seen an overwhelming reaction to the policy, as its Chairman Dr Michael Dixon explains, "The museum has seen its visitor numbers rise almost threefold, from 1.7 million in 2000 to 4.8 million last year.'

However, as the Art Fund's Director Stephen Deuchar wrote in The Independent this week, "...have we missed a trick? You have to pay up to €10 to visit the Louvre, and yet a staggering 8.5 million people did just that last year. That amounts to a lot of revenue. Indeed, universal free access comes at a price. In dropping entry charges, museums have lost a revenue stream that they've had to replace from elsewhere."

In a time of economic recovery it is not only difficult for museums and galleries to generate funding for new acquisitions and curatorial skills but is also even more important our museums and galleries offer free access to the public. Free admission also helps attract £4.5 billion worth of spending by inbound visitors.

How has free admission impacted on you and your family? Tell us what you love about free entry in ten words on our Facebook page or tweet us using #freemuseums10.

Read Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar's article reflecting on ten years of free admission.