Why Don't We Go to the Museums?

Nearly a half of Moscow and Podmoskovie citizens have not been to a museum for a year

Within the ESOMAR Research Got Talent 2020 global competition of young researchers MAGRAM Market Research team conducted a social research for MOSGORTUR and figured out, how often and in what museums Moscow and Podmoskovie citizens go, and what prevents them from such trips

General information
According to the obtained data, 46% of Moscow and Podmoskovie citizens go to museums no less than twice a year, 48% visit museums once a year and less, while 6% of the respondents have never been to a museum.
The most frequent museum visitors are females over 50 y. o. with university education. The most rare museum visitors are young men — males under 40 y. o. specifically make the hugest part of those, who have never been to a museum.

The key drivers to go to a museum are aesthetics reasons and curiosity:
   • Intension to learn something new/ expand horizons – 59%
   • Immerse into the beauty, atmosphere – 47%
   • Wish to have a variable entertainment/have fun in an unusual way– 44%
   • Going to a museum is aesthetics pleasure – 40%
   • I go to museums, when it is free of charge / with a discount – 24%
   • Visiting museums is associated with my personal interest – 20%
   • Visiting museums is associated with kids' entertainment – 20%
   • I go just to join the crowd, when I am invited – 20%

Active visitors
51% of the respondents have visited museums, exhibitions, memorial estates etc. 17% went on city tours, 8% visited the Planetarium.

Among the active visitors 33% in the average go to museums once per 2-3 months, 25% - once in half a year and 13% - once a year.

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At the same time only 22% of the active visitors mentioned visiting museums as one of their most favorite methods of spending their free time, 71% have nothing against visiting museums, but it is not their most favorite entertainment, while 7% will choose going to a museum least of all.

Nearly a half of the active visitors (47%) go to museums together with friends / acquaintances and associates. 35% go to museums with adult family members, while 24% — with kids under 18 y. o. 26% of the respondents go to museums with a girl / a young man, while 18% prefer to go alone.

Museums' popularity
The most popular museums are Moscow museums as expected – they have been visited by 90% of the active museum goers for the last year. 57% visited the museums of Podmoskovie, while 54% went to the museums during their trips to other cities of Russia and 38% — when travelling abroad.

For all survey participants the most interesting are the museums focused on the following subjects:
   • History – 54%
   • Art gallery, fine arts – 54%
   • Archeology, ethnography etc. – 38%
   • Research & technology (science, engineering and technology, industrial manufacture) – 38%
   • Local history museums – 35%
   • Memorial flats of celebrities – 34%
   • Museums devoted to military events – 31%
(multiple answer)

Guided tours and online tours
Guided tours are not popular among the survey participants. However the visitors with kids much more often prefer guided tours.

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An audio guide is even less popular – nearly half of the respondents (49%) have never used an audio guide in the museums, 45% use it sometimes or rarely and only 6% – with each visit.

During the research the respondents were asked a question about communication with mediators — a relatively new option in our domestic museums (they first appeared in 2014 at the MANIFESTA 10 European biennial of contemporary art in Saint Petersburg). According to the survey, 66% have never has such experience. 20% answered, «I talked to some person in the museum, but I was not sure he was a mediator». Only 14% of the visitors had such experience, at that in 94% of cases such communication was liked. 65% of the respondents answered, that they would like to talk to mediators in the future.

Online tours
79% of the museum visitors are aware, that some museums have online expositions and online tours. However only 30% have ever used such a possibility.

The most «online visited» museums are:
   • Tretyakov Gallery – 19%
   • Hermitage – 17%
   • Louvre, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts – 4%
   • Planetarium – 3%
   • Kremlin, State Historical Museum, State Russian Museum and Technology Museum - 2%.

Additionally the Bolshoi Theatre, Vienna State Opera, Wailing Wall, Auschwitz were mentioned.

At the same time only 15% of the respondents believe, that an online tour could be perceived as a genuine visit to the museum.

The research participants were asked to assess the importance of infrastructure and museum employees’ performance. It turned out, that for the visitors the space organization is a bit more important vs. the employees' readiness to talk:
   • easy-to-use navigation – 83%
   • labels and signage – 80%
   • lights – 78%
   • friendliness of museum employees – 77%
   • readiness to answer the questions – 64%

As for the cafeteria, only 30% of the respondents mentioned it as an important option. However gift shops are rather well demanded – the vast majority of the respondents go shopping there (80%).

Info channels
The key info channel about cultural events is «a word of mouth» — 46% of the respondents learn about exhibitions, museum events etc. from friends, family and associates. Internet resources are also popular — 33% search for info via search engines, 31% — at specialized portals.

It is interesting, that Moscow Metro became an important info channel: 18% learn about cultural events from advertising on Metro TV or posters, while 13% — from thematic carriages.


Also the research participants visit websites and portals devoted to city events from time to time (the most popular are as follows):
   • Yandex. Afisha – 53%
   • Mos.ru – 48%
   • Afisha – 37%
   • Active citizen – 28%
   • Ticketland – 21%

Barriers to visit museums
49% of Moscow and Podmoskovie citizens have not been to a museum for the last year. 13% of them have never been to a museum (6% of the total sample).

Those, who have never been to a museum, explain it by the following reasons:
   • No time – 30%
   • Not interesting – 22%
   • Don't want to – 12%
   • I don't like museums – 11%

Also all respondents were asked, what prevented them from going to museums more often. The answers to the question were integrated into several categories.

The leaders with a big gap are the answers integrated into category «Expensive» — 41% of the voices, number two is category «Not interesting/ boring» — 27%. Number three is category «What for/ don't see any sense» – 26%.

The rest of the categories were split as follows:
   • far away, hard to reach — 20%
   • no habit to go to museums — 20%
   • waste of time — 20%
   • no free time (busy with work, domestic chores) — 18%
   • I can do without museums — 17%
   • unawareness — 15%
   • nobody invites me to go, nothing to do there without a company — 13%
   • museums are associated with queues, crowds— 11%
   • 2% mentioned, that museums are not available for people with limited mobility

52% of those, who have not been to a museum for the last year, mention that their last visit was about four years ago, 48% — from one and a half to three years ago.

At the same time 63% of the respondents believe, that it is more or less probable, that they will start going to museums again.

The joint research was organized within ESOMAR Research Got Talent 2020 global competition of young researchers. The research was performed in two stages. During the first stage (March-April 2020) the focus groups covered 32 people from the active and non-active museum visitors with working hypothesis as an output. The hypothesis were checked via the online survey: the quantitative research (May 2020) covered 1,791 respondents 18+ from Moscow and Moscow Oblast. To read the key findings please enter.