The Met Museum sets new attendance record and embraces digital

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) has announced record attendance of more than 7.35 million visitors across its three locations—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Cloisters, and The Met Breuer.

The new record in the year ended June 30 2018, is attributed to the record-breaking attendance for Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer exhibition which on its own attracted 702,516 visitors.

The Met also benefited from over $250 million in philanthropic gifts, membership contributions and government support, the highest amount in recent years. A substantial element of this income came from a $80 million gift from Trustee Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert Irving, which is the largest financial gift the Museum has received in recent history.

Commenting on the announcement, Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of the Museum, said, “The Met prides itself on serving the public through our collection, exhibitions, and education programs—all of which meet the highest possible standards. Importantly, we’re gratified to recognize that these offerings not only resonate with our visitors but also inspire extraordinary support.”

The Met is New York City’s most visited tourist attraction for both domestic and international visitors (34 percent), with Trip Advisor naming the museum as Travelers’ Choice for Best Museum in the World for the third consecutive year.

Exhibtions drive attendance record

Key exhibitions driving the record attendance were:

  • Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer (702,516)
  • Cristobal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque (256,339)
  • David Hockney (363,877)
  • The Costume Institute’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination – on view to October 8 and expected to be one of the museum’s highest attended exhibitions having attracted more than 500,000 visitors since opening in May
  • Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (558,006)
  • The Roof Garden Commission: Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance (510,946)

Digital museum

Not content with visitors IRL, the Met has continued to expand digitally.

The Met’s website received 30.4 million visits over the year (32% international). The most popular pages were The Met’s online collection (8.4 million) and the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (9.4 million).

The Met’s Open Access policy, now in its second year, has made over 375,000 online collection images available for free and unrestricted use. The partnership with the Wikimedia community is enabling The Met’s collection to reach over 10 million users a month via Wikipedia.

The Museum also continues to expand its social media reach:

  • Twitter 4.4 million followers (49% internationally)
  • Instagram 2.5 million followers (66% internationally)
  • Facebook 1.9 million (67% internationally)

The Met has reached audiences in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and American Sign Language via Facebook Live.

Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art