According to a recent study, museum visitors feel that, on average, visiting a museum provides positive well-being-related benefits worth EUR 864 per visit. The value of visiting a museum for the visitor was analysed in a new type of study comprising eight Finnish museums and the Finnish Museums Association. The study group was led by the internationally renowned doctor and researcher John H. Falk from the United States.
The nationwide study included art museums, cultural history museums and science centres from Finland. The participants were HAM Helsinki Art Museum, Helsinki City Museum, Heureka, the National Museum of Finland, Museum and Science Centre Luuppi, Vapriikki Museum Centre, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and Serlachius Museums. The study was supported by FMA Creations Oy, part of the Finnish Museums Association Group, who also provide the Museum Card service.
The study provided unique data about the long-term, extensive impactful nature of a museum visit. An important point of the survey was that visitors felt that the effects of a museum visit remained positive for up to a month after the visit. A remarkable 99% of the respondents said that the visit supported their well-being.
An exceptional and new aspect of the study was that visitors were asked to evaluate the monetary value of the well-being-related outcomes of a museum visit. According to the evaluations provided by visitors to eight Finnish museums, the average value of a museum visit was EUR 864.
Multiplying the results with the total number of visitors to a museum included in the study, the average well-being-related value generated by the museum on an annual basis is more than EUR 230 million. The value of perceived well-being in relation to the costs of museum activities per museum was also studied. On average, the value provided by the museums in relation to the investment was +2,900 per cent. Every euro invested provided museum visitors with well-being worth EUR 30.
The proposal for the Finnish museums’ participation was submitted by Heureka, who also participated in a pilot study carried out by the John H. Falk study group in 2021.
“Museum and science centre visits are exceptionally memorable. The study also highlights strikingly how our audience can identify various valuable well-being-related outcomes even a month after their visit,” says Heureka’s CEO Mikko Myllykoski.
Internationally groundbreaking study explains the importance of museums
“Finnish museums are pioneers in this internationally groundbreaking study. It is an important opening that offers a new way of defining the importance of museums to society. The services provided by museums are very cost-efficient and they have extensive, long-term effects,” says Petra Havu, CEO of Finnish Museums Association.
The data was collected in May–October 2022. A random sample of 5,499 visitors to the museums involved in the study was chosen, and 70% of these visitors were willing to take part in the study. The participants were sent a survey about their museum visit a month later. 1,942 visitors responded to the survey. About half of them answered questions related to the perceived well-being-related outcomes of the museum visit and the other half evaluated the monetary value of the well-being-related outcomes to themselves.
“An analysis of the results of these two surveys allowed for defining both the nature and duration of the perceived well-being-related outcomes of the visit. We were also able to determine the total value of the well-being-related outcomes of museum visits,” says project leader John H. Falk.
The visitors reported that, on average, the social and physical well-being-related outcomes of a museum visited lasted for a day. According to some respondents, the outcomes related to personal and intellectual well-being lasted for up to a month and, on average, two to three days.
Respondents evaluated the monetary value of each of the four types of well-being-related outcomes on a scale of EUR 0–1,000. The evaluations of all types were totalled, and the average value of perceived well-being was EUR 864 per visit. The sum includes the evaluation of the effect on personal well-being (visit value average EUR 236.89), intellectual well-being (EUR 217.46), social well-being (EUR 205.36) and physical well-being (EUR 204.61).
John. H. Falk’s publication The Value of Museums. Enhancing Societal Well-Being (2022) has generated wide international discussion in the museum sector. With his method, Falk attempts to measure the monetary value of well-being-related outcomes perceived by people related to museum visits. In addition to Finnish museums, his study group is studying the perceived value of museums in the United States. Falk is Executive Director of the Institute for Learning Innovation.
Link to the study on the Institute for Learning Innovation website: http://www.instituteforlearninginnovation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Measuring-the-Public-Value-of-Museum-Experiences-FINAL-REVISED.pdf
More information and interview requests
FMA’s Head of Group Communications Miisa Pulkkinen
tel. +358 (0)44 430 0719
CEO Mikko Myllykoski
tel. +358 (0)40 901 5244
Serlachius Museums Development Director Päivi Viherkoski
paivi.viherkoski(at)serlachius.fi; tel. +358 (0)50 352 2567
Curator of Education
The National Museum of Finland
P. 050 528 8892
Suomen museoliitto 26.1.2023
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