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Vietnam National Museum of History

12/08/2015 21:17 1826
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Buoyed by strong international tourism, a spate of well-attended shows and a seven-day-a-week schedule, the Metropolitan Museum of Art drew 6.3 million visitors in the last year, the most since it began tracking these statistics more than 40 years ago.

The Met, which announced the figures late Monday, said it was the fourth year in a row that the museum had drawn more than 6 million visitors, keeping it in a rarefied group that includes the National Gallery and the British Museum in London, which both attracted slightly larger numbers, and the Louvre, the world’s biggest draw with more than 9 million in each of the last three years. The Met’s total, which includes visitors to both the main building on Fifth Avenue and the Cloisters in Washington Heights, was pushed up in part by the highly popular “China: Through the Looking Glass,” an exploration of China’s influence on Western fashion; it has drawn more than 535,000 visitors, many of whom are reflected in attendance numbers for the fiscal year that ended June 30.But the Met’s increase was more a reflection of the popularity of its overall exhibitions program: Over the last year, 20 shows drew more than 100,000 visitors each. The percentage of international visitors increased, to 38 percent of overall attendance, up from 36 percent the year before; in 2014 the number of international visitors to New York City topped 12 million, a record. The museum, which resumed a seven-day schedule in July 2013 after more than 40 years of closing on Mondays, remained the city’s most-visited attraction for both domestic and international audiences, as it has been for many years.Museum officials said the average amount visitors paid under the discretionary admission policy — the full suggested fee is $25 — had decreased slightly over the last year. While the museum would not release specific figures, Harold Holzer, a spokesman, said that the average was “10 dollars and change,” down from about $11 in recent years. “We’re talking about pennies here,” Mr. Holzer said. He attributed the decline in part to the rise in international attendance and the strong dollar, which has depressed the buying power of visitors from abroad and prompted them to seek advance ticket discounts — or to do what many New Yorkers do and simply pay what they think is appropriate.Thomas P. Campbell, the Met’s director and chief executive, said the numbers demonstrated “the ongoing enthusiasm for the Met’s exhibitions, collections, and programs,” which are to be expanded next March when the museum’s new outpost for modern and contemporary art opens at the Whitney Museum’s former home, the Breuer building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street.It was not possible to determine whether the Met’s increase was part of a general growth in museum attendance around New York because many museums report their annual attendance figures at different times and do not release projected figures.