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2010 Top Art Museums


2010 Top Art Museum Attendance – Worldwide
Attendance      Museum, Location
1.   8,500,000      Louvre, Paris
2.   5,842,138      British Museum, London
3.   5,216,988      Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
4.   5,061,172      Tate Modern, London
5.   4,954,914      National Gallery, London
6.   4,775,114      National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
7.   3,131,238      Museum of Modern Art, New York
8.   3,130,000      Centre Pompidou, Paris
9.   3,067,909      National Museum of Korea, Seoul
10.   2,985,510      Musée d’Orsay, Paris
2010 Top Art Museum Attendance – United States
Attendance      Museum, Location
1.   5,216,988      Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2.   4,775,114       National Gallery of Art, Washington
3.   3,131,238       Museum of Modern Art, New York
4.   2,043,854       De Young Museum, San Francisco
5.   1,612,780       Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
6.   1,205,685      *Getty Center (Getty Museum), Los Angeles
7.   1,144,494       National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.
8.   1,125,000       Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
9.   1,105,352       Guggenheim, New York
10.   1,100,000       Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C.

 Getty listed as Getty Center Only (Getty Center: 1,205,685 visitors; Getty Villa: 405,710 visitors)

2010 Top Art Exhibition Attendance – Worldwide

1. 881,520 “Rising Currents: Projects for NY’s Waterfront”, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2. 837,200 “Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture”, Saatchi Gallery, London
3. 777,551 “Post-Impressionism: from the Musée d’Orsay”, National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo
4. 749,638 “The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture”, Museum of Modern Art, New York
5. 703,256 “Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art”, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
6. 631,064 “Doug & Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú”, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
7. 601,284 “Anish Kapoor”, Guggenheim, Bilbao
8. 595,346 “Van Gogh: the Adventure of Becoming an Artist”, National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo
9. 586,000 “Christo and Jeanne-Claude”, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
10. 582,665 “Robert Rauschenberg: Gluts”, Guggenheim, Bilbao


I am becoming more interested in comparing “bricks and mortar” museum attendance as compared to the on line museum experience.  As a first step, researched top Art Museum attendance and Art Museum exhibition attendance. As next steps I will create similar attendance information for Science Centers, Children’s Museums, Natural History Museums and Corporate Museums and compare their attendance to their online visitation.


Three 2010 exhibitions were not included as the exhibitions opened in 2009;
2,926,232 “Designing the Lincoln Memorial”               National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Feb 12, 2009 –      Apr 4, 2010
755,850 “Harmony and Integrity: Yongzheng Emperor” National Palace Museum, Taipei Oct 7, 2009 –        Jan 10, 2010
644,975 “Falnama: the Book of Omens”                     Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington, D.C. Oct 24, 2009 –       Jan 24, 2010

Data used was supplied by the museums.  Many museums have one ticket for the entire museum and cannot provide individual attendance for temporary exhibitions. Institutions offering a number of exhibitions for a single ticket, are shown as one entry. Institutions with more than one building included separate museum attendance figures for each venue.

Data Source:
The Art Newspaper, April 2011, “Exhibition & Museum Attendance Figures 2010”

About Mark Walhimer

Mark is Managing Partner of Museum Planning, LLC, a museum planning and exhibition project management firm of interactive educational environments for Science Centers, Children's Museums and Natural History Museums. You can reach Mark at

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