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Research Update: How Do Philadelphia's Museums and Galleries Compare Nationally? Pretty Good.

A few months ago, the Cultural Alliance released 2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities, our first national research report. The report examined 11 metro regions: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburg, Twin Cities, and Washington DC. 

Now, we're sharing a deeper dive into each discipline examined in the report, to share how Philadelphia's arts and culture communities compare nationally. Today's focus is on the Museum community. Portfolio examined 428 organizations within the Museums, Galleries & Visual Art discipline. In Philadelphia there were 39. 

Key takeaway: Philadelphia’s Museums, Galleries & Visual Art community is growing.

Attendance grew by 11% for both the Philadelphia and national community. In Philadelphia, Museums, Galleries & Visual Art also had the largest percentage increase in the number of Members,  which grew by a  43% compared to a 3% increase nationally. That 43% increase represents approximately 42, 0000 new members, or 23% of all current members in Philadelphia. 

  Philadelphia National (11 Metro Regions)
Paying Members +43.1% +3.2%


Nationally, Total Revenue soared, increasing more than any other discipline at +24%. Philadelphia’s Total Revenue increased at a more modest, but still strong 8%. Philadelphia’s increase in Total Revenue can be attributed to a large 209% increase in Earned Income, although, with large edowments and capital funds in the museum community,  much of that can be traced to gains in realized investments after the slump of the great recession. Philadelphia, however, also saw a rise in Earned Income from sponsorships and advertising. Unfortunately, while Contributed Income is up nationally, as with most other disciplines in Philadelphia, contributed income was down almost 21%. All major sources of giving were down except for Trustee/Board giving. 

  Philadelphia National (11 Metro Regions)
Earned Income +209.4% +48.5%
Contributed Income -20.8% +11.3%
Total Revenue +8.1% +24.3%


Overall the outlook for Museums, Galleries & Visual Art is strong despite the hit on contributed revenue. The discipline has the largest Total Assets in Philadelphia and has siginficantly expanded activity, increasing spending  almost 17% in an otherwise generally flat-growth sector.

For more information on 2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities and other Alliance research projects, click here, and stay tuned next month when we take a closer look at another discipline.Overall the outlook for Museums, Galleries & Visual Art is strong. The discipline has the largest Total Assets in Philadelphia and has increased spending almost 17%.