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Annual Survey of Public Museums and Art Galleries, 2005-06

September 18, 200718 September 2007

Museums, galleries and performing arts

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The most recent survey results from Business for the Arts (formerly The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada) provide insights into the health of non-profit museums and art galleries in 2005-06. In addition, a series of fact sheets examines longer-term trends in revenues, private sector support and attendance levels as well as trends by size of organization and for the different organization types (museums and art galleries). In 2005-06, 117 museums and galleries participated in the survey, including 43 public museums, 48 public art galleries, 12 university-affiliated art galleries or museums, and 14 artist-run centres. The overall summary of 2005-06 data and the trends fact sheets were prepared by Hill Strategies Research.

The 117 museums and galleries had total revenues of $508 million in 2005-06, with government revenues accounting for $345 million (68% of total revenues). Earned revenues were $110 million (22% of total revenues). Private revenues equalled $49 million (10% of total revenues), while revenues from universities (for university-affiliated organizations) were $3 million (0.6% of all organizations’ revenues).

Funding from Canadian Heritage and other federal government departments ($187 million) was higher than any other single source of revenues. Provincial government funding was the second-largest source of revenues ($132 million), followed by “other earned revenues” (such as gift shops, restaurants and other ancillary activities), which accounted for $72 million.

Total expenses were $507 million in 2005-06, only $0.1 million less than total revenues. The vast majority of the organizations reported a surplus or (essentially) balanced budget in 2005-06. Based on past surpluses in the sector, the collective accumulated surplus of the 117 museums and galleries was $19 million (4% of 2005-06 revenues) at the end of 2005-06.

The 117 museums and galleries attracted over 13 million visitors in 2005-06, through in-gallery (10.5 million) and extension (2.8 million) attendance.

The survey data also shows that 29 museums and galleries raised a total of $88 million in capital funds in 2005-06, of which $49 million (56%) came from private sector sources.

The trends analysis provides information about 75 museums and galleries responding over a 10-year period, from 1996-97 to 2005-06. The trend organizations include 29 public museums, 34 public art galleries, 11 university-affiliated art galleries or museums, and one artist-run centre.

For these 75 organizations, total revenues increased by 15% after adjusting for inflation. Revenue increases were quite widespread, with 68% of the museums and galleries (51 of 75 organizations) registering a real increase in revenues. Total expenses kept pace with the increase in total revenues, also growing by 15% after inflation. Of all the revenue categories, private sector revenues grew at the fastest rate (a 38% increase after adjusting for inflation).

Between 1996-97 and 2005-06, there were shifts in the organizations’ sources of funding: government funding decreased from 71% to 69% of total revenues. Earned revenues increased from 20% to 22% of revenues. Private sector funding increased from 7% to 9% of total revenues, while university grants were just under 1% of total revenues in both years.

Attendance at the 75 museums and galleries increased slightly, from 10.1 million in 1996-97 to 10.2 million in 2005-06 (a 2% increase). This figure includes in-gallery attendance, not extension activities.

The fact sheets on trends by type of organization shows that art galleries experienced stronger revenue growth than museums. The 34 art galleries reporting between 1996-97 and 2005-06 collectively experienced 20% growth in total revenues (after adjusting for inflation). For the 29 museums reporting historical data, real growth in total revenues was 12%.

The trends analysis by size of organization shows that the smallest museums and galleries (revenues under $500,000 in 1996-97) experienced the highest growth in revenues between 1996-97 and 2005-06 (62% after adjusting for inflation). The smallest museums and galleries also experienced the highest growth in private sector revenues (more than a threefold increase, after adjusting for inflation).

A number of separate fact sheets on museums and art galleries highlight some differences in revenue sources in 2005-06 and trends by type of organization.

The results of the Business for the Arts survey are available on CD-ROM free of charge for participating arts and heritage organizations as well as Members of Business for the Arts. The CD-ROM is also available for purchase ($40) from Éilis Karry at Business for the Arts.

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