The value of museums and galleries to the country is significant in terms of our heritage, our communities and our economy. Museums and galleries care for, preserve, and showcase 45 million artifacts, and they inform and entertain millions of visitors every year. Prior to the pandemic, 17.5 million visits were made to museums and galleries, including 3.9 million visits from 1.9 million international tourists.
Museums and galleries are facing a funding crisis with most funded through a mixture of local government funding, sponsorship, sales through retail, cafes, venue hire and entrance fees. Pressured local government funding is making this situation worse and there is real risk of closures across the sector.
These funding issues of the museums and galleries sector are symptomatic of the funding deficits across many parts of tourism, as set out in Tourism 2050.
Urgent work is required to scope the size of the shortfall and design a sustainable funding model that acknowledges the value that museums and galleries provide to tangata whenua, communities, students, and to the tourism industry.