National Museums Liverpool has recorded the highest number of visitors in its history.
The seven free museums and galleries notched up 360,000 visitors in July 2008 and another 370,000 in August 2008. This means that in this two-month period the venues – the only group of national museums in England outside London – had more visitors than in the whole of 2000 – 2001.
National Museums Liverpool director Dr David Fleming says: “These are our biggest visitor figures since records began. Every day you can virtually guarantee that the galleries will be heaving with people.
“Obviously Liverpool being European Capital of Culture has helped boost the figures, but the trend has been upwards for seven years. People have definitely got the message that National Museums Liverpool offers variety, quality and excitement.”
The busiest venues this summer were the Merseyside Maritime Museum (including the International Slavery Museum in the same building) which had more than 160,000 visitors in July alone and the World Museum Liverpool. The latter welcomed just under 200,000 visitors and more than half of them visited the blockbuster music exhibition The Beat Goes On.
The Walker Art Gallery is building on its huge reputation and by the end of the year is expected to reach its highest visitor figures ever. Art in the Age of Steam proved very popular and helped to bring in many new visitors from further afield – 62% were from outside Merseyside.
The Superlambananas also helped to generate visits with an extra 50,000 people coming to World Museum Liverpool to see Monument to the Superlambana and 27,000 seeing Superfive-a-daybanana at the Walker.
Phil Redmond, chairman of National Museums Liverpool, says: “These figures underline how fantastic our museums and galleries are. The exhibitions and permanent collections are a constant source of wonder, inspiration, entertainment and education.
“We will build on these figures as we move into 2009 and beyond. We are confident the Museum of Liverpool currently being built on the waterfront will send these figures into overdrive when it opens in two years’ time.”
In August the Walker saw 56,648 visitors – up by an astonishing 119% on the same period last year. The National Conservation Centre chalked up 17,008 (up 77%) and the Maritime Museum 141,403 (up 42%).
A total of 1.41 million visitors went to National Museums Liverpool venues between April and August 2008, a 39% increase on the same period in 2007.