The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and DCAL have produced a report on Experience of Museums in Northern Ireland: Findings from the Continuous Household Survey 2009-2010.
- 32% of all respondents said that they had visited a museum in the previous 12 months.
- The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum was the most popular museum visited (17%) followed by W5 (8%), Ulster American Folk Park (8%) and Ulster Museum (8%). [I am not sure what impact the closure and reopening of the Ulster Museum had on these figures.]
- The most frequently cited factor that would encourage respondents to visit museums more often was 'Exhibition/display of a subject I am interested in' (34%).
This last figure is interesting and seems to confirm the point I have made about the importance of museums reflecting the diversity of our society. As an example I referred to the depiction of fraternal societies such as the Orange Order and the Ancient Order of Hibernians within the Ulster history section of the Ulster Museum. People want to see their history and culture reflected in our museums, but especially in our national museums.
Recently we published a Museums Policy for Northern Ireland. This is the first time we have ever had a policy and it includes an important section on the role of museums in building a 'shared and better future'. This section includes a reference to cultural rights which is an emerging and increasingly important aspect of human rights.