Museum Visits on the Decline, Says NEA Survey

Museum Visits on the Decline, Says NEA Survey
Have you been to a museum lately? If not, that makes you like most Americans. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, only 22.7 percent of Americans made a visit to a museum during 2008, down from a not altogether more impressive figure of 26.5 percent in 2002.

The NEA’s senior deputy chair, Joan Shigekawa, suggested a few possible reasons for the dismal performance: the popularity of the Internet, a lack of free time as a result of longer work hours, or general cuts in arts classes in American schools, leading to reduced cultural awareness within the American public.

It is not just museums that are suffering, though. The survey also notes declines in movie-going (a drop from 60 to 53.3 percent annual attendance over the 2002 to 2008 period) and in trips to see jazz music, something only 7.8 percent of Americans did in 2008.

On the positive side, the percentage of Americans spending time with “novels, plays, poetry, and short stories” was up over the studied period. According to polling data, a slim majority of Americans — 50.2 percent — like to read.

Read more at the AP.