Thoughts on Museum Success III: Numbers We Are Thankful For

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Museum visitors look at works of art on a gallery wall

Originally published in the Ackland’s Member E-Newsletter of 25 November 2014—the Thanksgiving editionthis is the third in a series of ruminations on how museums measure success.

In my considerations of how art museums should measure success, it is surely time to think about directly statistical criteria. But I don’t want to distract from the joys of Thanksgiving with extensive reflections on this, so let me just give you an appetizer of the kind of impressive numbers I’ll address in the next Member E-News in two weeks:

  • The Ackland is currently on track to see a 10% increase this academic year in the number of students and faculty incorporating visits to the Museum into their coursework, compared with last year’s record of 11,121which itself was a 10% increase over the year before.
  • The Ackland saw a 23% increase in attendance in the five years between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

These numbers and others like them make us proud, and I hope that you, our valued supporters, are also proud of your association with these kinds of success. Furthermore, I hope I may invoke the spirit of this week to offer our thanks to you, our extended institutional family, for your loyal commitment to the Ackland and its ambitions to facilitate meaningful encounters with great works of art, across our campus and our community.

With gratitude for all you do,

signature of Peter
Peter Nisbet
Ackland Art Museum Chief Curator and Interim Director