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Spain loves its museums – here's why, and how much
07 May 2021 @ 10:53

ALTHOUGH physical museum visits have been down by over 70% in the past year due to the pandemic – largely because they were mostly shut anyway – Spaniards and Spanish residents were not willing to go without their regular dose of culture: Almost two-thirds, or 63%, 'visited' an art gallery, temporary exhibition or established museum online during that time.

El Prado, one of Madrid's famous ‘Big Three’ art museums (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

This is well above the international average, which is 40%, albeit the typical profile of a museum visitor in person or via a virtual tour is similar worldwide: More likely to be women, and typically aged over 55.

The age group may well vary from country to country and be influenced by a whole range of factors, though: Many European cities offer free or reduced-price entry to students or the under-26s, to pensioners, to the unemployed, or on certain days of the week; also, those who take their holidays as 'circuit tours' of a country or part of a country will almost certainly visit at least one museum along the set route, and it would stand to reason that this type of holiday would be more popular with residents in warmer countries, who do not need to spend their annual break seeking out sunshine, or who already have second homes in hot-weather hotspots.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the east of Spain might have seen an upsurge in young adults heading for museums: Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences was offering free passes throughout 2020 for anyone born in the Millennium year.

But what influences museum visits overall, and which are the most popular types?

The holiday activity site Musement surveyed a stratified sample of 2,600 people around the world to sound them out.


Preferred museum types, and what's important to visitors

Some might have thought 'weird' museums would be among the most popular – like the reptile museum in São Paulo, the phallus museum in Reykjavík, or, at the more 'normal' end of the 'weird' scale, Madame Tussaud's in London or its Madrid counterpart, the Waxworks Museum, or Museo de la Cera.

But it turns out our tastes are somewhat more conventional: Spanish respondents were, in 80% of cases, most likely to head to an art gallery; 44% would go for an archaeological museum, and 32% to a history museum.

Similar proportions were seen in other countries worldwide.



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