In Italy visitors of State-owned museums are increasing a lot

In Italy during the 2017 it has been observed a great increase in the performance of public museums.

In 2017, for the first time, the number of visitors of State-owned museums reach were more than 50 millions, +11,6% in comparison to 2016 and +53,2% in comparison to 2013.

Also the economic performance of state-owned museums increases: +20,2 millions of sales, +11,6% in comparison to 2016 and +53% in comparison to 2013.

The Ligura region had the greatest increase in the number of visitors (+25%). However a regional comparison is more complicated because it involves the number of museum, the size of museums and so on.

The performance of state-owned museums was good also during the 2016 but the results of 2017 are really unexpected, also because in the other rest of the world the tendency is static. What is the reason of this success?

  1. New directors in museums.

The Italian minister of the culture nominated in 2015 the new directors of the State-owned museums. These were chosen for the first time using an international perspective, choosing those that distinguish themselves managing museums all over the world. Unfortunately the reaction of the old directors and of the cultural world in Italy has not been favorable.

Many Italian Intellectuals claimed that this choice was only a fake reform, and that it is not possible to make museums more efficient only changing the directors. Furthermore this choice was negative for the good Italian wanna-be directors that sought their stranger colleagues taking over their desired place. Lastly it was said (not without some chauvinism) that we are giving the management of our museum to the stranger, while only Italians are able to really manage our heritage.

The supporters of the minister, instead, said that an international perspective was necessary to modernize the public system of museums. Not all the new directors were foreign and therefore there is not the aim to choose only strangers: there is a meritocratic choice among the best curators and museum managers in the world.

This discussion had also legal repercussions: the new directors were temporally suspended from their tenure in 2017, and than they were again reinstated.

The work of the new directors was very obstructed by the workers and unions of museums, frequently with pretexts and with comical implications. For example in 2016 Unions of the “reggia di Caserta” complained that the director was working too much, making in danger the museum (see here).

The great changing of the state-owned museums is in great part the result of these foreign directors.

However, the situation is less good as it seems: at the beginning of the 2017 other ten directors were nominated for other (minor) museums. None of them is stranger, many of them were already working in the ministry and some of them have a low-level resumé but a good political pedigree. It seems that the innovative momentum is already finished and the political game has taken over.

     2. Free-entry Summers

The second great reason for this success are summer free-entry summers. The ministry choose that the first move to make people go to museums is to decrease barriers to entry and to increase buzz and interest on museums. They create the project “Domenica la museo” (with its good hashtag #domenicaalmuseo): every first summer of the month everyone can see the state-owned museums without charge.

The project was so successful, both for the media coverage and for the low barriers, that many people started to go to museums more frequently, both during free-charge days, and in normal-charge days.

Conclusions

The impressive results of State-owned museums are not welcomed by everyone. 80 Italian intellectuals have underlined that the increase of public and the economic performance has been done without increasing the investments in the conservation of cultural heritage and a great hemphasis on events decrease the interest for small-size museums.

I think that these results teach that the old establishment of the Art Connoisseurs will always obstacle the initiatives of reform, and that some prejudice for management is at the basis of the reform.

These number are the result of a new way of doing management, that depends only from the initiatives of the directors and not from a change in the rules of the system. This is an answer to those critics that argue that only a change in the regulamentation  and in funding will change the Italian museum system.

The results of new directors are not the application of management to museums. Many of the new directors come from the public sector, they are former curators or managers of museums. Therefore it is not simply the capitalistic and managerial thinking at the basis of museum success: it is the experience in the sector, the knowledge of international museums and the most modern practices that is the real force.

Lastly this experience teach us that public initiatives can really make the difference and that the ticket price is a often underestimated problem.

 

DATA 

All data come from The Italian ministry of culture

 

Visitors and sales per year

Year visitors sales (€)
2013 38.424.587 126.417.467
2014 40.744.763 135.510.702
2015 43.288.366 155.494.415
2016 45.383.873 173.383.941
2017 50.103.996 193.631.308

 

Regions

Region Visitors
2016
Visitors
2017
Variation
%
Lazio 20.317.465 23.047.225 +13,44
Campania 7.936.314 8.782.715 +10,66
Toscana 6.388.991 7.042.018 +10,22
Piemonte 2.464.023 2.610.737 +5,95
Lombardia 1.830.495 1.850.605 +1,1
Friuli Venezia Giulia 1.199.379 1.384.097 +15,4
Veneto 1.058.015 1.092.235 +3,23
Emilia Romagna 1.028.124 1.057.365 +2,84
Puglia 627.100 749.260 +19,48
Sardegna 516.800 548.553 +6,14
Marche 519.241 496.988 -4,29
Calabria 491.323 487.264 -0,83
Liguria 203.262 255.958 +25,93
Basilicata 235.468 250.420 +6,35
Umbria 260.034 246.212 -5,32
Abruzzo 139.382 122.718 -11,96
Molise 76.253 79.626 +4,42

Most visited museums

Visitors
2016
Visitors
2017
Variation % Variation in position
1. Colosseo 6.408.779 7.036.104 +10% =
2. Pompei 3.144.348 3.382.240 +7,60% =
3. Uffizi 2.010.917 2.219.122 +10,40% =
4. Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze 1.461.185 1.623.690 +11,10% =
5. Castel Sant’Angelo 1.234.506 1.155.244 -6,40% =
6. La Venaria Reale 994.899 1.039.657 +4,50% =
7. Giardino di Boboli 881.463 1.000.482 +13,50% =
8. Museo Egizio di Torino 852.095 845.237 -0,80% =
9. Reggia di Caserta 683.070 838.654 +22,80% =
10. Palazzo Pitti 473.203 579.640 +22,50% +5
11. Galleria Borghese 524.785 569.042 +8,40% -1
12. Museo Archeologico di Napoli 452.431 525.687 +16,20% -1
13. Ercolano 400.639 470.123 +17,30% =
14. Villa d’Este 443.425 461.037 +4% -2
15. Paestum 383.172 441.037 +15,10% +1
16. Cenacolo Vinciano 410.693 416.337 +1,40% -2
17. Pinacoteca di Brera 343.173 364.541 +6,20% +7
18. Musei Reali di Torino 314.195 360.777 +14,80% +4
19. Museo Archeologico di Venezia 344.904 343.582 -0,40% -1
20. Cappelle Medicee 321.091 339.870 +5,80% =
21. Museo Nazionale Romano 339.755 333.555 -1,80% -2
22. Palazzo Ducale di Mantova 363.173 322.729 -11,10% -5
23. Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia 311.645 316.995 +1,70% =
24. Ostia Antica 316.390 311.379 -1,60% -3
25. Castello di Miramare 257.237 293.911 +14,30% +3
26. Grotta Azzurra di Capri 238.589 263.741 +10,50% +4
27. Castel del Monte 262.693 249.527 -5% =
28. Villa Adriana 229.914 242.964 +5,70% New entry
29. Castello Scaligero 280.493 241.595 -13,9% -4
30. Museo di Capodimonte 191.923 232.786 +21,2% New entry

Free entry Sundays 2017

Month visitors
Januart 218.870
February 217.973
March 259.102
April 349.187
May 385.625
June 355.677
July 286.199
August 273.948
September 353.124
October 374.364
November 260.117
December 215.015
Total 3.549.201

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s