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Our Annual Survey of Museums

Each year we launch a survey in the South West asking museums, within the Accreditation scheme, to provide core data on:

  • Workforce
  • Financial operations 
  • Audiences
  • Insights related to the size of museum  

This data helps to demonstrate the social and economic value of museums across the South West both locally and regionally. It also provides a mechanism for museums to benchmark their work.

The below data is from our 2018 – 2019 survey and each section is a pdf available for download. 


There are 17,993 active volunteers in museums in the South West (*reported by 195 organisations), with 35.5% of our museums being entirely volunteer led 

Download the pdf to uncover more information about the museum workforce in the South West.

ingrographic of the workforce data

Financial Operations

Museums across the South West reported a total income of £74,649,400 in 2018/19, of which £28,481,400 was taken through ticket sales

Download the pdf to view more 2018 – 2019 date related to the financial operations of museums in the South West.

Financial operations infographic data


There were over 10.7 million visits to museums in the South West in 2018/19, with total visits worth over £225,000,000

Download the pdf to find out more about museum audiences in the South West related to museum size and

The below data is related to museums size categories based on annual visitor numbers

Micro – fewer than 10,000 visitors
Small – 10,000 to 20,000 visitors
Medium – 20,000 to 50,000 visitors
Large / largest – greater than 50,000 visitors


Infographic - fewer than 10,000 visitorsMicro museums overview – audiences of fewer than 10,000 annual visitors

83% of micro museums are independently run. Micro museums engaged over 95,000 participants in learning and outreach activities and held 17,400 events and activities.

infographic 10-20k

Small museums overview – audiences between 10,000 and 20,000 annual visitors

Volunteers in small museums reported 191,852 hours, which has an economic value of £1.3 million.



Medium museums overview – audiences between 20,000 and 50,000 annual visitors

Medium museums had 1,088,000 visits in 2018/19, equating to £21.2 million in gross visitor impact.



Large / largest museums overview – audiences of over 50,000 annual visitors

Large museums engaged 415,000 participants through 2,300 events and activities, and reported £188 million gross visitor impact with a total 8,858,700 visits


Previous years:

By encouraging museums and heritage organisations to adopt a simple and uniform way of reporting their headline operational data, we have collated a body of data that will enable museums to compare and benchmark themselves anonymously and confidentially to others in the museum sector.

This data enables us to monitor the impact of Arts Council England investment in the museum and heritage sector in the South West and to advocate to funding bodies and government to sustain investment in the sector.

Annual Museum Survey Highlights 2017-18 image of volunteer pointing to an engine with two men looking

Annual Survey of Museums Highlights 2017-2018







an infographic showing the workforce data for the south west 2017-2018








Download the Annual Survey of Museums 2016-2017