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Happy Museum Visitors

Happy museumsThe Happy Museum Project has published a report on the role of museums in fostering happiness and wellbeing. ‘Museums and happiness: The value of participating in museums and the arts’ by economist Daniel Fujiwara from the London School of Economics,  argues that visiting museums is valued more than being a spectator to the arts or doing sports.

The study relies on statistical techniques and makes use of data from a large-scale national survey, ‘Taking Part’, to judge whether museum visits make people happier with their lives. The methodology includes expressing happiness in money: if, for instance, visiting museums regularly increases happiness by one point on the happiness scale, and an extra £5,000 of income also increases happiness by one point, then visiting museums equates to a value of £5,000. Visiting museums was valued at about £3,200 per year per person, compared to, for instance, about £1,500 per year per person for participating in the arts or sports.

Tony Butler, director of the Happy Museum Project, said: “Counting visitors tells us nothing about quality or wellbeing.  Museums are adept at storytelling, but we wanted the longitudinal or quantitative evidence that might influence policy makers.”

The report concludes that it is important to encourage people to visit museums. It also found that those who have not been taken to museums as a child are 17 per cent less likely to visit them later on than others. Education, price and accessibility also influence the decision to visit museums.

Read more at: Report – ’Museums and happiness: The value of participating in museums and the arts’