Who visits museums in general and who visits the Australian Museum?

Museum visiting is not evenly spread in the population. However, audience research shows that the demographic characteristics of museum visitors has remained fairly stable, both over time and across studies that have been undertaken in many different countries.

Skeletons visit the museum
Skeletons visit the museum Image: Julian Foot
© Australian Museum

Generically, museum visitors typically:

  • are more highly educated, with post-secondary education likely in the humanities or arts;
  • are either primary school aged children, or adults aged between thirty and fifty;
  • visit with the family or other social groups;
  • are in a higher socio-economic class, and
  • visited museums as children.

Research has also found that people visit museums for a broad range of reasons:

  • as a worthwhile leisure activity;
  • to be with, or do something as, a family or other social group;
  • to be challenged;
  • to actively participate in new experiences;
  • for personal satisfaction and enhancing self esteem;
  • for fun and entertainment; and
  • for education and learning.

Against this background, our research of 2,518 visitors over 2005-2007 tells us that visitors to the Australian Museum are typically:

  • Sydney-based - primarily from the inner and north areas
  • aged between 30-49 and visit as a family group
  • tertiary-qualified
  • a mixture of repeat, lapsed and new visitors
  • white collar, with a busy family life, seeking worthwhile leisure experiences

There are certain characteristics of visitor groups that we have specifically looked at – these can be found in the Australian Museum Visitor Profile document. We continue to do exit surveys and once we have another data set we will post again (although my suspicion is that it won't change much - see above!).