Survey Offers Financial Snapshot of Nation’s Museums
The American Association of Museums (AAM) has released 2006 Museum Financial Information, a comprehensive survey of museums according to size, type, and location.
The publication presents a financial snapshot of 800 museums from fiscal years 2003 through 2005 and includes information from over 250 museums that reported six years of performance. The results indicate that the nation’s museums have demonstrated significant resilience to economic challenges over the last few years.
Leading findings of the survey include:
–National museum attendance is holding steady.
–Museums continue to rely more heavily on private funding, and less on government funding, than they did a decade ago.
–Overall financial stability is increasing, with fewer financial deficits and more surpluses among American museums.
–Museums continue to effectively channel support to make museum attendance affordable to the public.
–Museums continue to aggressively pursue capital campaigns and building projects.
While anecdotal evidence suggests that there are isolated pockets of economic distress where regional groups of museums, or specific types of museums, are facing challenges, this is not detectable in a national examination of all museums.
The vast majority of museums (73 percent) are private, nonprofit institutions. Government funding is highest (60 percent) for those institutions that are part of local, state, or federal government. Private nonprofits receive only 13 percent of their funding from government sources–primarily state and local.
The response rate for the MFI survey provides a confidence level of 95 percent. The 809 museums responding to the 2006 survey represent all types of museums, from art museums to zoos, and every region of the country. They also vary greatly in size, with the majority having budgets of less than $1 million.
The American Association of Museums is the national service organization representing the American museum community. Its mission is to enhance the value of museums to their communities through leadership, advocacy, and service. Since its founding in 1906, the AAM has grown to include more than 15,000 individual, 3,100 institutional, and 300 corporate members.