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Finances of Museums and Art Galleries in Canada in 2006-07

December 8, 20088 December 2008

Government expenditures on culture / Museums and art galleries / Performing arts organizations

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This report from Hill Strategies Research shows that public museums and art galleries generate increasing amounts from non-government sources. However, the report also finds that government revenues continue to represent the largest share of total revenues.

The report examines the situation of non-profit museums and art galleries in Canada, based on the 2006-2007 Business for the Arts Annual Survey of Public Museums and Art Galleries. A total of 113 Canadian museums and galleries participated in the survey, including 52 public art galleries, 38 public museums, 12 university-affiliated art galleries or museums, and 11 artist-run centres. Organizations responding to the Business for the Arts survey are based in all 10 provinces and the Yukon.

Total operating revenues for the 113 public museums and art galleries were $500 million in 2006-07. Total expenses were $506 million, slightly higher than total revenues, leaving a collective deficit of $6 million in 2006-07 (1% of total revenues). Based on past surpluses in the sector, the collective accumulated surplus of the 113 museums and galleries was $28 million (6% of 2006-07 revenues) at the end of 2006-07.

The 113 museums and galleries responding to the Business for the Arts survey represent about 70% of the operating revenues of non-profit museums and art galleries, based on Statistics Canada’s Survey of Heritage Institutions.

Revenues from government sources represented two-thirds of the $500 million in total revenues ($334 million, or 67%) in 2006-07. Earned revenues accounted for $116 million, or 23% of total revenues. Private sector revenues equalled $45 million (9% of total revenues), while revenues from universities (received by university-affiliated organizations) were $4 million, or 0.8% of all organizations’ revenues.

Total attendance at the 113 museums and galleries was 10 million in 2006-07.

The report finds that private sector revenues led recent growth in the museums and galleries. For the 77 museums and galleries with a consistent reporting history between 1996-97 and 2006-07, growth in total revenues was 18% between 1996-97 and 2006-07 after adjusting for inflation. Total expenses kept pace with total revenues, growing by 19% after inflation.

Of all revenue categories, private sector revenues grew at the fastest rate (47%, after inflation). Earned revenues also grew by more than total revenues, with an inflation-adjusted increase of 25%. In contrast, government revenues increased by 12%, while university revenues increased by 3%.

Among four different organization sizes, the revenues of the smallest museums and galleries grew the most, led by private sector revenues.

The report also provides separate profiles of public museums and art galleries in Canada.

All organizations participating in the survey have access to a new benchmarking tool that allows them to compare their own data with other organizations in their discipline and size category. The tool was developed by Business for the Arts and is available on their website at CD-ROMs with full survey data have been sent free of charge to participating organizations and are available for others to purchase from Business for the Arts.

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