Public galleries

Australia’s 165 public art museums attracted almost 13 million attendances in 2008

There are an estimated 165 non-commercial galleries/museums in Australia with a visual arts focus.  In 2008, the ABS estimated that these visual arts galleries/museums made up 14 percent of all museums in Australia – with an estimated 712 social history museums, 247 historic sites and 59 other museums operating.

Art museums held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays during 2007-08. That year they recorded 12.9 million admissions, the equivalent of 42 percent of all museum admissions reported.  Four in five of these attendances were for free exhibitions and events.

Art museums were more reliant on public funds than other museums, with government funding accounting for almost 40 percent of their income in 2007-08. However, art museums also earned more than three times the funds of other museums through sponsorship and philanthropy.

Table 2 - Summary of non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Year Art museums Free attendances Paid attendances Admissions incomeOnline visits
2007-08 165 107710002177000$1960000011987000