Visits to museums and galleries
The main facts and figures show that:
- overall, the percentage of people aged 16 and over visiting a museum or gallery in the past year increased between 2005/06 and 2016/17 – this increase was seen both in the White ethnic group and in all other ethnic groups combined
- White people were more likely to visit a museum or gallery than people from all Other ethnic groups combined
- new data has been published for the year 2017/18 – this data isn’t currently reflected in the charts, tables and commentary on this page, but you can get a CSV file with the latest figures if you download the data
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 to make generalisations (reach ‘findings’) about the total population.
Unless stated otherwise, the commentary for this data includes only reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings. 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.
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
For this data, the number of people surveyed (the ‘sample size’) was too small to draw any firm conclusions about specific ethnic categories.
For the analysis over time since 2005/06, the data has been broken down into the following 2 broad categories:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other – all other ethnic minorities
For the analysis of the specific years 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16, the data has been broken down into the following 4 broad ethnic groups:
- White (including White ethnic minorities)
- Other ethnic groups (including people with Mixed ethnicity)
People visiting a museum or gallery in the past year, 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||White||Other than White|
|Year||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents|
This data shows that:
- overall, the percentage of people aged 16 and over visiting a museum or gallery in the past year increased from 42% in 2005/06 to 52% in 2016/17
- in 2016/17, White people were more likely to have visited a museum or gallery than people from all other ethnic groups combined (at 54% and 44% respectively)
- the percentage of White people visiting a museum or gallery increased by 11 percentage points during the period studied, from 43% in 2005/06 to 54% in 2016/17; the percentage of people from all other ethnic groups combined increased by 9 percentage points, from 35% in 2005/06 to 44% in 2016/17
People visiting a museum or gallery in the past year, by ethnicity over time (3 specific years)
Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who visited a museum or gallery in the past year, by ethnicity over time (3 specific years)
|Year||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents||%||Number of respondents|
This data shows that:
- White people were more likely than Black people to have visited museums and galleries in 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16
- White people were more likely than Asian people to have visited museums and galleries in 2005/06 and 2010/11; there was no significant difference between these groups in 2015/16
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 there is no geographical restriction on where the activity or event occurred.
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 16 and over.
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.
You can see confidence intervals for each ethnic group if you download the data.
In 2016/17, 52% of people aged 16 years and over responding to the Taking Part Survey question 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’s 95% certain, however, that somewhere between 51% and 54% 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 example, the number of Black people aged 16 years and over responding to the survey in 2015/16 (242 respondents) was much smaller than the overall population that responded to the survey (10,171 respondents), so we can be less certain about the estimate for the smaller group (Black people, 41%). This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval, of between 33% and 50% for Black people in 2015/16.
All the differences noted in the text are statistically significant. The statistical significance of differences are approximate because they are determined where the 95% confidence intervals for 2 groups or time periods don't overlap.
Percentages are given to the nearest whole number.Quality and methodology information
Further technical information
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Note on corrections or updates
The data was republished on 6 December 2017 following a small revision. The figures shown on this page are based on the revised data.
Publication frequencyTwice 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.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Download the data
This file contains data for the years 2005/06 to 2017/18. This is the latest data available, but does not reflect the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page. The file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Geography, Value, Upper bound, Lower bound, Sample size
This file contains data for the years 2005/06 to 2016/17. This is the data used in the charts, tables and commentary shown on this page. This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Geography, Value, Upper bound, Lower bound, Sample size