Minnesota Museums

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Economic Impact of Museums in Minnesota

Museums are essential contributors to the vibrancy of communities throughout Minnesota as anchoring institutions that entertain, educate, and preserve. The following includes some key points from the results of a recent University of Minnesota Extension study titled "The Economic Contribution of Museums in Minnesota."

  • Many Visitors: Minnesota museums attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2011. Compare that to 5.9 million visitors to Twins, Viking, Lynx, Timberwolves, and Wild events combined in 2011.
  • Heritage Keepers: Over 60% of all museums in the state are foremost history museums, and historic houses comprised another 10%. Nearly a quarter of all museums listed "Library/Archive" as an important secondary function.
  • Tourism: About 12% of all museum visitors were tourists, travelling from more than 50 miles to visit museums. Tourists visiting museums contributed $53 million to the state's economy.
  • Statewide Reach: Every county in Minnesota has at least one museum. The Twin Cities alone has more than 50!
  • Economic Force: In 2011, Minnesota's museums directly infused $337 million in spending into Minnesota's economy. The indirect impact resulting from museum wages and spending contributed $690 million to the state's economy.
  • Museums Employ Minnesotans: Museums in our state directly employ an estimated 1,700 full and part time workers, paying $80 million in wages. Yet museums do more with less; the average museum in Minnesota has just two paid staff.
  • Volunteerism: Nearly a third of museums in Minnesota are operated by volunteers alone. In total, volunteers in Minnesota's museums contribute an estimated 1.1 million hours of work to our state's cultural life.

Source: "Economic Contribution of Museums in Minnesota: A Report of the Economic Impact Analysis Program", University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, in partnership with Minnesota Association of Museums and the University of Minnesota Carlson Chair for Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality.

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