(BBC, LONDON) At 6.7 million, the British Museum is set for record attendance in 2013, up 20% on 2012 and beating 2008’s previous record of six million, according to a recent report by the BBC. The number is also rivaling the total of 9 million sold tickets to London Olympics 2012, and beating 2013’s all music festival goers of 6.5 million; and keep in mind that this is from the British Museum alone!
The same observable fact was also happening in the United States, a nation of more than 17.000 museums. According to the American Alliance of Museums, There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011). By 2006, museums already received an additional 524 million online visits a year just from adults, a number that continues to grow.
With such staggering numbers, both the British and Americans are safe to say that museum is as big as sports and entertainment; and this might be very useful for the museums enthusiasts across the globe.
Museums are popular
In today’s climate where history and cultural heritages are not voiced as loud as sports or entertainment, especially among the young generation, those numbers could speak louder than words. Museums are popular; and probably unlike sports and entertainment, there are rooms for everyone; from all ranges of ages, income, education, and nationality.
The British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, said: “I am delighted that so many people have visited the world collection at the British Museum in the last year. Displays onsite, loans and touring exhibitions nationally and internationally, big screen viewings and online access mean this is truly a dynamic collection that belongs to and is used by a global citizenship”.
To Americans, museums are viewed as one of the most important resources for educating the young generation, telling important stories by collecting, preserving, researching, as well as interpreting objects, living specimens and historical records. With more than a billion tangible world heritages preserved and protected in one place, perhaps near to their home, museums are considered a more reliable source of historical information than books, internet, teachers or even personal accounts by relatives, according to a study by Indiana University.
In short, one would say that history and cultural heritage is indeed as popular as sports and entertainment; or in other words, museums are as big as football matches and music festivals.
However, museums are losing its charm in many other countries, such as in Indonesia. In fact, some are “successfully dying”, as the common joke says. So, if Indonesia, with its 17,508 islands covering an area of 741,050 squares miles, has thousands if not millions of museums’ materials which may have potentials as great as the British Museum, how should we evaluate this?