Based on the figures in most recent Annual Report, 1,334,712 visitors came through the door in the 2010-2011 year. We divided that by your government contribution of $23,574,000 and came up with the figure of $17.66 per visit. Is this right? It is at odds with the figure of $11.40 per visit stated on page 8.
Can you tell us:
1. how the $11.40 figure was constructed.
2. why the cost per visit doesn’t use the formula of total operating costs divided by number of visits to the building.
3. the percentage of visitors to Te Papa who come for reasons other than to specifically look at the collections or exhibitions, ie Film Festivals, weddings, conferences etc.
Jim and Mary
Kia ora Jim and Mary
Thanks for your email and for your interest in the annual report.
The $11.40 figure is an average over the period shown in the chart and relates to visitors to Cable St and to touring exhibitions, as this reflects Te Papa’s broader reach. We are focussed on increasing our national reach – which as the national museum we are funded by central government to do – so in this case, the logic of using total visitation works. What we were trying to show with those figures was the cost to the taxpayer of running Te Papa. As you’ll be aware, we do generate a significant amount of revenue ourselves.
You can see that more people have visited our touring exhibitions over the period, which we’re very pleased about. Unfortunately, we don’t have data on visitors to conferences, film festivals etc, but this is something we are looking at improving our data on. However, I understand that our approach is consistent with other museums and galleries.
All people who enter Te Papa during the hours it is open to the public are electronically counted. Data about where people go or what they visit is based on exit interviews, from a sample. These interviews seek insight into how engaged visitors are with the collection, their views on particular exhibitions, and possible improvements that could be made. Our visitor researchers ask about motivation, prior knowledge and also time spent in parts of the building.