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Attendance at Quebec museums and heritage organizations in 2016 and 2017

(La fréquentation des institutions muséales en 2016 et 2017, optique culture no 60)

September 26, 201826 September 2018

Museums and heritage organizations

Department of Canadian Heritage

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Based on survey responses from 406 Quebec-based heritage organizations, this report focuses on attendance at museums, interpretive centres, and exhibition spaces (excluding artist-run centres). In 2017, total attendance was 15.9 million, which the report notes is a record level that “might be partially attributed to activities associated with Montreal’s 375th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation”. The 2017 total was a 16% increase over the previous record in 2016 (14.7 million visitors) and a 36% increase from 2003 (12.4 million). School attendance was just over 1 million in 2017, or 6% of overall attendance in 2017.

The report indicates that the 30 most visited museums represented 76% of the attendance at all 406 museums in 2017.  Fourteen of the 30 most visited museums are in Montreal, seven are in the Quebec City region, and nine are elsewhere in Quebec. One-half of these museums specialize in history, ethnology, and archeology.

Data in the report highlight the importance of the summer season for Quebec museums and heritage organizations: July and August represent 37% of total attendance.

Total attendance at art museums also reached a record level in 2017 (2.2 million), representing a 5% increase from 2016 (2.1 million) and a 66% increase from 2003 (1.3 million). This is the highest long-term increase among the types of museums captured in the survey and is much higher than the average 36% increase in attendance at all museums and heritage organizations between 2003 and 2017.

In 2017, school attendance (128,000) represented nearly 6% of the 2.2 million in total attendance at art museums, equal to the proportion for all museums and heritage organizations. Off-site attendance for the 22 art museums represented 3% of the total, well below the average of 9% for all Quebec museums and heritage organizations.

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