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CBAC Annual Survey of Public Museums and Art Galleries, 2004-05

November 27, 200627 November 2006

Museums, Galleries, Visual Arts and Heritage

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This survey from the Council for Business and the Arts in Canada highlights the situation of public museums and art galleries in 2004-05.

Although this study provides statistics on a much smaller group of organizations than Statistics Canada’s heritage institutions survey (and is therefore less reliable as a source of sector-wide information), the CBAC report does provide a level of detail that is not available in the Statistics Canada survey. For example, data for individual museums and galleries is provided, allowing managers to compare their own activities with other specific organizations in their field. The CBAC survey also provides results by detailed revenue categories, allowing for a finer analysis of revenue sources. In addition, because the CBAC methodology has not changed over time, there is the ability to examine data over longer timeframes than the Statistics Canada data.

The 98 museums and galleries responding to the CBAC survey include 43 public art galleries, 41 public museums, 10 university-affiliated art galleries or museums, and 4 artist-run centres. As a group, the 98 organizations represent 24% of the 498 non-profit museums and galleries covered by the Statistics Canada heritage institutions survey. The 98 CBAC respondents have total revenues of $472 million, about 70% of the almost $700 million in revenues for the 498 non-profit museums and galleries in the Statistics Canada survey. The fact that 24% of organizations receive about 70% of total revenues indicates that CBAC respondents tend to be relatively large organizations.

Even within the larger-than-average group of organizations reporting to CBAC, the 17 largest organizations (total revenues over $5 million each) accounted for 85% of the operating revenues of the 98 CBAC respondents in 2004-05.

The data in the report shows that government revenues account for $302 million, or 64% of total revenues. Funding from Canadian Heritage was higher than any other government source or any other single source of revenues. Individuals contribute the largest share of private sector revenues, followed by corporations and foundations. “Other revenues”, such as gift shops, restaurants and other ancillary activities, was the largest component of earned revenues – over twice as much as entrance fees. The 98 museums and galleries attracted nearly 15 million visitors in 2004-05.

Total expenses were $474 million in 2004-05, or $2 million more than total revenues. However, public art galleries were the only type of organization to report a collective yearly deficit in 2004-05. The accumulated surplus for all 98 CBAC respondents amounted to $7.5 million as of 2004-05.

For the 86 organizations reporting in both 1996-97 and 2004-05, total revenues increased by 17% after adjusting for inflation. There were shifts in the organizations’ sources of funding: government funding decreased from 69% to 65% of total revenues; earned revenues increased from 22% to 25% of revenues; private funding increased from 8% to 10% of total revenues; and university grants were just over 1% of total revenues in 1996-97 and just under 1% in 2004-05.

Between 1996-97 and 2004-05, total attendance first increased (reaching its highest point in 1998-99) then decreased to be lower in 2004-05 than in 1996-97.

The results of the CBAC survey are available for free on CD-ROM for arts and heritage organizations as well as businesses. Please contact

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