The English publication ArtsProfessional has made a somewhat disconcerting discovery. The 15 museums that receive funding from the government’s cultural envoy, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), have seen their fundraising efforts drop to their lowest point since 2014. Much of this has to do with the completion of high-profile drives, such as the Tate Modern’s extension project that was completed in 2016, but the shaky state of global markets is also to blame, according to a spokesperson for the British Museum.
“There has been some decrease however reflecting changes in this market and the global economy,” the spokesperson told ArtsProfessional.
That institution, which has the highest attendance of the country’s art museums, said its fundraising dropped £3.8 million ($4.9 million), or 14%, in the last year, to £23.3 million ($30.1 million)—a five-year low. In a period during 2013 and 2014, the British Museum raised £54.2 million ($70 million).
Overall, the 15 institutions have seen a 16% drop in fundraising in the past year, and efforts are down 28% since 2013/2014. The most dramatic hit in capital drives occured at the Tate museums, where a 26% hit cut its annual fundraising to £51.6 million ($66.7 million), its lowest since 2011/2012.
Funds come from sponsorship, membership, gifts, charity grants, and donations. The ArtsProfessional story suggests that the solution could be a shift in focus. Funds from admission prices, for instance, are at their highest point in a decade—last year it soared to £48.7 million ($63 million) across all 15 museums, when 10 years ago that figure was just £25.5 million ($33 million).