Visits to museums and galleries

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2017/18, 49.7% of people aged 16 and over said they had visited a museum or gallery in the past year
  • 51.4% of White people had visited a museum or gallery, compared with 28.6% of Black people and 37.9% of Asian people
Things you need to know

These figures are estimates based on responses to the Taking Part Survey. The Taking Part survey is a sample survey. It collects information from a random sample of the population and uses it to reach generalised findings about the total population.

Unless stated otherwise, the commentary for this data includes only reliable findings (sometimes described as ‘statistically significant’). Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they can be repeated, and are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

As with all surveys, the estimates from the Taking Part survey are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

The wording and position of the museums and galleries questions were changed for quarters 1 to 3 of the 2017/18 questionnaire as part of a wider review of the questionnaire structure. Following analysis and review of the provisional data from quarters 1 and 2, these changes were reverted for quarter 4. For consistency with previous results figures reported here for 2017/18 are derived from quarter 4 data only.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people aged 16 and over in England who had visited a museum or gallery in the year before taking the survey.

Percentages are calculated using the total number of survey respondents. Results are adjusted to make them representative of the population as a whole.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Respondents were asked to indicate their ethnicity from a choice of 18 categories.

For this data, the number of people surveyed was too small to draw any firm conclusions about these specific ethnic categories. Therefore, the data here is broken down into the following 5 broad groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

Estimates for the Other ethnic group have been suppressed due to a low number of respondents from that group.

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who visited a museum or gallery in the past year, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 49.7 2,088
Asian 37.9 118
Black 28.6 55
Mixed 48.4 38
White 51.4 1,849
Other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 21

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, 49.7% of people aged 16 years and over said they had visited a museum or gallery in the past year
  • people from the Black and Asian ethnic groups were less likely to have visited a museum or gallery (at 28.6% and 37.9% respectively) than White people (at 51.4%)

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who visited a museum or gallery in the past year, by ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Time % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents
2012/13 52.8 9,838 45.7 394 39.9 188 48.4 171 53.7 9,054 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 22
2013/14 53.1 10,355 47.3 404 49.0 203 49.7 142 53.6 9,546 67.7 49
2014/15 52.0 9,817 39.9 367 40.7 239 57.8 99 53.2 9,050 51.6 52
2015/16 52.5 10,171 49.9 434 41.3 242 53.3 119 53.1 9,312 52.3 55
2016/17 52.3 9,352 47.3 423 31.9 242 52.3 170 53.6 8,473 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 27
2017/18 49.7 2,088 37.9 118 28.6 55 48.4 38 51.4 1,849 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 21

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, the percentage of people who said they had visited a museum or gallery in the past year was 49.7% compared with 52.8% in 2012/13 - estimates for 2017/18 are based on data collected in the last 3 months of the year only
  • there was no meaningful change in the percentage of adults who visited a museum or gallery for any ethnic group

4. Methodology

The Taking Part survey measures cultural activity by people aged 16 years and over, as well as children aged 5 to 10 years and 11 to 15 years. Respondents must be living in private households in England, but the cultural activity can have taken place anywhere.

The sample for the Taking Part survey is chosen by first randomly selecting households from the Postcode Address File.

An interviewer visits these addresses and, if contact is made, records details of all individuals living at each address. One adult, and where applicable one child aged 5 to 10 and one aged 11 to 15, is then selected to participate in the survey.

The figures presented here only apply to people aged 16 years and over.

Weighting:

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split. Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

The data in the Taking Part sample is weighted to make sure it is representative of the population in England. The data is weighted to:

  • compensate for unequal probabilities of selection
  • adjust for non-responses

Weighting is based on mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

Confidence intervals:

You can see confidence intervals for each ethnic group if you download the data.

In 2017/18, 49.7% of people aged 16 years and over had visited a museum or gallery in the past year. This is a reliable estimate of the percentage of people in England who visited a museum or gallery in that period. But because the Taking Part Survey is based on a random sample, it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage.

It is 95% certain, however, that somewhere between 46.5% and 52.8% of all people aged 16 years and over in England visited a museum or gallery. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if 100 random samples were taken, then 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the upper and lower confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.

The smaller the survey sample, the more uncertain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval.

For 2017/18, the Mixed ethnic group had 38 respondents in quarter 4 (out of 2,088 respondents in total), so we can be less certain about the estimate for the Mixed ethnic group (48.4%). This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval, of between 30.0% and 67.2% for people from the Mixed ethnic group in 2017/18.

Changes over time and differences between groups are only reported on where they are statistically significant at the 95% level. This means that we can be confident that the differences seen in our sampled respondents are reflective of the population. The statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 95 times out of 100 we would get similar findings.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Results are suppressed for the Other ethnic group as the number of respondents for that group was less than 30.

Rounding

Percentages are given to the nearest whole number.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Taking Part technical reports.

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Publication frequency

Twice a year

Purpose of data source

The Taking Part Survey measures people's involvement in cultural activities in England.

The data is widely used by policy officials, practitioners, academics and charities.

6. Download the data

Adults visiting museums and galleries - Spreadsheet (csv) 8 KB

The file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Geography, Value, Upper bound, Lower bound, Number of respondents