Press Release

"Art Museums by the Numbers 2016" Released

New York, NY


The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) today issued Art Museums by the Numbers 2016. The report provides an annual overview of the art museum field—with benchmarking data on attendance, collections, revenue, and expenses—and is designed to inform thinking inside and outside the field about how art museums operate and how they serve their communities. This year, “Art Museums by the Numbers” includes two new data points on art museums’ public engagement: the number of schools served and the number of volunteers who donated their time in support of art museums.  

First released in 2014, the report is based on aggregated data drawn from AAMD’s member survey and tracks changes over time. Comparisons between 2014, 2015, and 2016 data showed little fluctuation, indicating continued stability in the art museum field. 

Key findings from “Art Museums by the Numbers 2016” include:

The public continues to be highly engaged with their art museums, as evidenced through robust attendance figures and individual contributions of financial support and works of art

  • Museum attendance remains strong, with over 60 million visits to AAMD member museums in each of the three years of the “Art Museums by the Numbers” report.
  • Private contributions to museums were also sustained, with just over 50 percent of contributed revenue coming from family and individual contributions and memberships, and almost 89% of all newly acquired objects received as donations or bequests.

New data points on community engagement

  • Public engagement was also evidenced by the volunteers who donated their time and expertise to AAMD member museums. In 2016, individuals donated 3.8 million volunteer hours in support of art museums.  
  • Museums’ civic engagement was also reflected in their support of educational resources in their communities. In 2016, art museums served over 40,000 schools across North America.

Museums continue to operate with the help of diverse sources of support and revenue

  • Art museums continue to derive funding from a wide range of sources, which helps sustain stability in changing economic environments. The single largest source of support for museums was income from their endowments, followed closely by contributions from individuals and families.

AAMD will continue to release “Art Museums by the Numbers” on an annual basis, with data building over time. To download the full report, please visit


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