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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 18:34 GMT
Museum visits crashed after bombs
Victoria and Albert Museum
Visitor numbers to the V&A fell by almost 190,000 in 2005
Visitor numbers at London museums and art galleries dropped by almost a quarter in the wake of the July bombings, new figures have revealed.

Visits to the capital's museums in August 2005 were down 24% on the same month the previous year, according to government figures.

But attendance numbers are now rising again, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport has said.

Total UK museum visitor numbers were down by almost two million in 2005.

Culture minister David Lammy said: "Like many of our tourist attractions, our museums went through a tough period after the tragic events of 7 July.

"But it's a testament to their enduring appeal and the quality of experience that they offer that visitor numbers are starting to pick up again."

Family audiences

Emily Candler, secretary of the National Museum Directors' Conference, which represents all major institutions in the UK, said the drop could be attributed to the bombings.

They "particularly affected those which had a large number of family audiences and particularly those in central London", she said.

"The good news is that visitor numbers really have started to recover. They are definitely back up for some museums."

The National History Museum saw a decline of more than 200,000 visits between 2004 and 2005, while the nearby Science Museum saw numbers fall by a similar amount.

Only one formerly charging national museum - National Museums Liverpool, made up of seven separate museums and galleries - saw its visitor numbers rise in 2005.

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