New Research from Art Fund finds that Pupils are Missing Out on Museum Visits

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
New Research from Art Fund finds that Pupils are Missing Out on Museum Visits

New research reveals pupils’ socio-economic status and geographical location impact their access to museums and over a third of teachers say visits to museums are down post pandemic.

Pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds are not as likely to have visited a museum in the past year, finds new research from national charity Art Fund. The data, among over 1,000 children aged 6-15 years found only 52% of lower socio-economic status pupils have visited a museum in the past year, compared to 70% of those growing up with higher socio-economic status.

Nearly half of children (45%) with parents who are unemployed or not working have not visited a museum in the past year, revealed the research by YouGov for Art Fund. Visiting museums and galleries provides children with immersive and rich learning experiences that help spark their imagination, while allowing them to develop their critical thinking and better understand the world around them. Yet those from lower socio-economic backgrounds were not as likely to be taken to a museum by their school (34%) compared to their peers from higher socio-economic backgrounds (47%).

Regional disparity also contributes to inequity in museum access. Pupils from London (75%) are significantly more likely to have visited a museum in the past year compared to those living in the Midlands or Wales (57%) and Northern England or Scotland (60%).

This reflects research by Art Fund from Teacher Tapp among nearly 9,000 educators, which found a third (36%) of teachers across the country are taking pupils to museums less than before the pandemic. This increased to 40% of teachers in the Midlands and North West, compared to 31% in London.

Many pupils don’t have the opportunity to access museums and galleries. The YouGov research found 1 in 3 (35%) children say they hadn’t visited a museum in the past year. Teachers have the power to influence this, with the right support.

To help tackle this issue and better connect teachers and museums, Art Fund has launched the Teacher Art Pass. From £25 a year, the Teacher Art Pass offers all the benefits of Art Fund’s National Art Pass at a highly subsidised price for teachers – including free entry to over 250 museums, galleries and historic houses, up to 50% off exhibitions and guidance on what to visit.

By raising awareness and removing teachers’ barriers to accessing museums, the Teacher Art Pass can help spark creativity in the classroom and enrich teachers’ lives. In a pilot scheme with 1000 teachers, thanks to the generous support of the Clore Duffield Foundation, 85% reported finding the benefits of museum visiting useful to their teaching practice, in turn improving educational outcomes for pupils.

Image : Visitors at the Science and Industry Museum Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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