Tate Modern loses top museum slot by a hair

The gallery was beaten to the post by the British Museum

Tate Modern just missed becoming the UK’s most popular museum in the past financial year. After the first 11 months of 2012/13, it was in the lead by 1,607 visitors, but in March the British Museum (BM) made up for ground lost during last summer's London Olympic Games. The museum’s final figure was 5,593,000, compared with 5,538,000 at Tate Modern (the highest since its opening in 2000). Tate Modern’s attendance was boosted by the success of its Hirst show and the opening of the underground Tanks. The British Museum suffered slightly last summer, when the Olympics discouraged foreign tourists from coming to London (69% of the BM’s visitors are from overseas, compared with 56% at Tate Modern). Only two international museums attract more visitors, but these show both art and antiquities: the Louvre in Paris and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 247 June 2013