Here comes a short question for you. Which museum is the world’s most popular in 2016? The Palace Museum in Beijing, the Louvre or British Museum?
The answer is none of the above. National Museum of China in Beijing is the most-visited museum in 2016, dominating the list of top museums in 2016 with its impressive attendance of 7.55 million.
National Museum of China, Beijing
A report on top 20 museums in the world is recently published by international non-profit association Themed Entertainment Association, together with multinational engineering firm AECOM. According to the report, National Museum of China recorded an annual growth of 260,000 in attendance (3.6%) and became the highest-attended museum in the world for the first time. The report attributed the success to three main factors: sheer population size, free admission, and being in a major tourist destination city.
National Air and Space Museum, Washington
Coming closely after National Museum of China is National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, which holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. NASM recorded an attendance of 7.5 million last year, an 8.7% increase (600,000 attendance) from 2015.
The Louvre, Paris
British Museum, London
The third place goes to the Louvre, which saw a decrease of 1.3 million in attendance (14.9%) to only 7.4 million in 2016. British museum ranked 6th on the list with attendance of 6.42 million, 400,000 (5.9%) lower than the year before. The report does not state or analyze the reason for such drops in visitors.
National Museum of Natural History, Washington
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
National Museum of Natural History, Washington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York claimed the 4th and 5th spots on the list, with attendance of 7.1 million and 6.7 million respectively.
National Museum of Korea, Soul
Five Asian museums made it to the list of top 20: National Museum of China (No.1), Shanghai Science & Technology Museum (No.7), National Palace Museum (Taiwan) (No.12), China Science Technology Museum (No.16) and National Museum of Korea (No.19).
The Palace Museum in Beijing
A lot of you may wonder why the Palace Museum in Beijing is not included on the list. In fact, according to official statistics, its attendance is already over 10 million. Due to the mythology adopted by this report, palaces and sacred spaces that house art are left out to differentiate religious pilgrims and visitors who come for museum collections. That’s why the Palace Museum is not taken into consideration. Since the National Palace Museum (Taiwan) is not built inside a real historical palace, it is hence eligible for inclusion.
Top 20 Museums Worldwide and numbers of attendance in 2016
1. 7.55m│National Museum of China, Beijing
2. 7.5m│National Air and Space Museum, Washington
3. 7.4m│Louvre, Paris
4. 7.1m│National Museum of Natural History, Washington
5. 6.7m│The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
6. 6.42m│British Museum, London
7. 6.31m│Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, Shanghai
8. 6.26m│National Gallery, London
9. 6.06m│Vatican Museums, Vatican
10. 5.83m│Tate Modern, London
11. 5m│American Museum of Natural History
12. 4.66m│National Palace Museum (Taiwan), Taipei
13. 4.62m│National History Museum, London
14. 4.26m│National Gallery of Art, Washington
15. 4.11m│State Hermitage, St Petersburg
16. 3.83m│China Science Technology Museum, Beijing
17. 3.8m│National Museum of American History
18. 3.64m│Reina SofÍa, Madrid
19. 3.96m│National Museum of Korea, Soul
20. 3.3m│Centre Pompidou, Paris