Press Release

2010 Museum Attendance Press Release

Released on Monday, January 10th, 2011 | Print Release


More than 14 Million Visitors Trekked Through 14 Chicago-Area Institutions

CHICAGO – Jan. 25, 2011 – In 2010, more than 1.58 million children and teens got to enjoy 14 Chicago-area cultural institutions through school and youth group visits, an overall increase of 5 percent over the previous year.

“It’s gratifying that teachers and youth leaders increasingly recognize the value of exposing children to the rich and diverse offerings of our local institutions,” said Gary T. Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum and president of Museums In the Park. “These students got to experience real science, culture, art and animal observation in fun and engaging ways outside of the classroom.”

The 10 museums that comprise Museums In the Park (MIP) collaborate with four additional organizations on the Museums Work for Chicago public awareness campaign. Overall attendance at the 14 institutions dropped slightly to 14.4 million, a decrease of 3 percent over 2009. Johnson attributes this to the normal ebbs and flows that museums experience due to the weather, the economy and exhibits opening and closing.

“From year to year some numbers go up and some go down, but despite challenges, including a sluggish economy, Chicago-area museums and zoos have continued to attract an impressive and stable number of visitors from Chicagoland and around the world,” said Johnson, who also chairs the Museums Work for Chicago campaign. “It’s rewarding that people recognize the value we provide.”

MIP institutions that saw the largest numbers of visitors include John G. Shedd Aquarium (more than 2 million visitors); the Art Institute of Chicago (1.6 million visitors); the Museum of Science and Industry (more than 1.4 million visitors) and the Field Museum (more than 1.2 million visitors). Within the partner organizations, Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free, attracted the most visitors, with an estimated steady attendance of 3 million; Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo reported a 2 percent increase in attendance with more than 2.2 million visitors; and Chicago Botanic Garden had record attendance with more than 900,000 visitors.

Museums Work for Chicago was formed to highlight the contributions these 14 institutions make to the region and to raise public awareness of their important economic and educational benefits to the city, region and state.

The 14 Museums Work For Chicago museums and zoos are: Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo, DuSable Museum of African American History, The Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and Industry, National Museum of Mexican Art, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and John G. Shedd Aquarium.

The Museums In the Park acknowledge the generous support of the Chicago Park District and the people of Chicago.


Media Relations at Museums in the Park