The number of people visiting Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ sites is continuing to rise, with figures reaching a record high of 1.75 million visits in 2012-13 (9% above target).
Over the last 12 months, Amgueddfa Cymru’s seven museums collectively welcomed over 50,000 more visitors than in 2011 - 12, with four of the museums enjoying their best years ever (National Museum Cardiff, National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, National Wool Museum in Dre-fach Felindre and the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon).
National Museum Cardiff, which has developed its offer with a new National Museum of Art, refreshed natural history galleries and a strong changing programme of exhibitions and family events welcomed a record 477,399 visitors. The number of visitors to the city centre Museum has grown significantly over the last two years with an increase of 29% since 2010 – 11.
The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea with its strong events programme, reached a total of 271,452 visitors - 6% more than the previous year. Playing an important role in the local community, the industrial National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre attracted an impressive 34,309 visitors - an extra 3,931 visitors. The National Roman Legion Museum also achieved its best ever visitor figures, with 71,992 people welcomed by the Museum in Caerleon.
St Fagans: National History Museum’s successes came in July 2012 when it was given the largest ever grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales to redevelop the site, then in September when it was named the UK’s most loved museum by the consumer magazine Which?. In addition, 2012 – 13 saw the National Slate Museum celebrating its 40th Anniversary and the Olympic Torch Relay at Big Pit: National Coal Museum.
“In 2012, we celebrated 1.69 million visits as the highest total ever recorded since free entry was introduced in April 2001,” said David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.
“I am delighted that we’ve succeeded in breaking yet another record this year, which is testimony to the quality of the service delivered by the Museums and the true value of the Welsh Government’s free entry policy.
“Breaking records such as these motivates us to continue to deliver for the people of Wales. We must remain relevant to all, not only appealing to our existing audiences but also attracting new visitors to interact with the national collections, which, after all belong to the people of Wales!”
Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths, added:
"Congratulations to Amgueddfa Cymru on these fantastic visitor figures. Our museums have an important role to play in profiling the culture and history of Wales locally, nationally and internationally.
“Free entry to the sites of Amgueddfa Cymru was introduced to enable everyone to enjoy the nation's rich heritage of arts, sciences and social and industrial history.
“I am delighted to see that this policy continues to attract visitors to Amgueddfa Cymru and in turn our rich cultural history ."
Amgueddfa Cymru is looking forward to another exciting 12 months, not least with the start of the work on redeveloping St Fagans into a National History Museum for Wales, which has attracted nearly £12million of Heritage Lottery Fund support and £7million from the Welsh Government. Over the next five years, a new entrance hall, gallery spaces and a medieval Welsh Prince’s hall will be added to its collections of over 40 historic buildings.
Admission to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’s Museums is free