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DCMS figures reveal drop in visitor numbers for most UK museums

Plus: Petition launched to save Stockholm’s Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities | Paris’s Musée Carnavalet to close for restoration until at least 2019 | Activists demand removal of Theodore Roosevelt statue in New York | and Artangel’s Reading Prison show extended due to popular demand

12 October 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Significant drop in visitors to DCMS museums and galleries | The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has released its latest visitor figures for British museums and galleries, presenting a disappointing picture for the British museum sector. According to the Museums Association, visitor numbers have fallen by more than one million in the past six months compared to the previous financial year, in spite of a record number of tourists to the UK. While a few museums – notably in Liverpool – have seen visitor numbers bolstered, the drop is almost universal, a trend that Visit Britain attributes in part to security fears. Some of the biggest drops were in London, with visits to the Natural History Museum, the V&A and Tate Britain all declining by more than 100,000.

Petition launched to save Stockholm’s Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities | Following newly recommended merger plans for Stockholm’s Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, locally-based campaigners have launched a petition in the hope of preserving it. According to the individuals behind the petition, the recommendation to merge the MFEA with the Ethnography Museum and the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities to create a new ‘Museum of World Culture’ is ‘all in the name of cost saving’. According to the petition, the MFEA ‘risks losing its identity’ should the plan go ahead.

Paris’s Musée Carnavalet to close for restoration until at least 2019 | The Musée Carnavalet, the institution dedicated to the history of Paris, has closed its doors for restoration until at least 2019, reports The Art Newspaper. The €43 million restoration project will see crucial repairs made to the institution’s roof and woodwork, and allow curators to refresh its displays. In the meantime, certain items from the museum’s collection will be loaned to institutions in the US, Canada, Japan and elsewhere in France.

Activists demand removal of Theodore Roosevelt statue in New York | Activists gathered outside New York’s American Museum of Natural History on Monday to demand the removal of a ‘racist’ statue of President Theodore Roosevelt, reports the Guardian. According to protesters the equestrian sculpture, which depicts Roosevelt flanked by Native American and African American figures, is a ‘stark embodiment of the white supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused […] The statue is seen as an affront to all who pass it on entering the museum, but especially to African and  Native Americans.’

Artangel’s Reading Prison show extended due to popular demand | Since Artangel opened its exhibition at Reading Prison on 4 September, the venue has welcomed more than 16,000 visitors and its run will now be extended until 4 December. ‘There has been an overwhelming interest and excitement in Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison, said Artangel directors Michael Morris and James Lingwood. ‘We are delighted to be able to offer even more people the opportunity to experience the remarkable work by artists and writers inside the prison.’

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