European museums make 4 out of 5 most visited museums in the world

The year 2020 brought many uncertainties in our everyday lives. The ways we commute to work, attend school, travel or spend our free time have all been changed in a tremendous way. Having that in mind, the future of the world’s museums has surely been challenged as well. Travel restrictions, public gatherings and the limited number of people indoors have all been restricted which made it difficult for the visitors to attend their favorite exhibitions and visit the museums of their choice.

Theme Index and Museum Index have stated in their 2020 Global Attractions Attendance Report that “the global attraction attendance fell 50% – 90% in 2020 depending on the extent of the pandemic and the type of parks in various regions – one of the steepest annual drops the industry has ever faced. That decline came on the heels of one of the strongest years: 2019 attendance numbers were an economic peak for the industry, the best in five decades according to the performance of the top global operators that we track.”

Luckily, some of the world’s top museums saw this as a challenge and, with the assistance of technology, managed to overcome this issue. Museums have introduced us to online exhibitions, workshops, and virtual gathering events that made people reduce their “lockdown loneliness”, feel stronger belonging to their communities and think less about the everyday challenges the global pandemic has brought to us. 

Even with travel restrictions, curfews and closures of tourist attractions all over the world due to coronavirus pandemic, the Museé de Louvre still saw 2.7 million people visiting its exhibitions in 2020, making it world’s most visited museum in 2020. Beijing’s museum came in second, while London’s Tate Modern museum came in third place.

One of the oldest still existing museums in Europe, the Vatican Museums, are in fourth place when it comes to the number of visitors. Three more London museums made their way onto the top 10 most visited museums in the world in the year 2020: British Museum, National Gallery and National History Museum came in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. 

International council of museums stated: “While many institutions are struggling to reopen to the public with major limitations, others are still closed or have recently been forced to close for a second or third time. To ensure the safety of staff and visitors, cultural institutions must comply with government directives and meet specific safety measures.” 


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