Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Monday, 5 May 2008 15:36 UK

'Highest ever' visits to museums

National Museum Cardiff
Vistor numbers to the National Museum Cardiff climbed by 18.5%

National Museum Wales has recorded its highest ever visitor figures across its seven museums for the last year.

Nearly 1.7 million visits were made to the museums, which include the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, in 2007-08.

This figure is up by almost 9% on the total achieved in 2006-07 and includes a record 674,678 visits to St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff.

However, vistor numbers were down by over 10% at the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon, south Wales.

It was the only one of the organisation's museums which did not increase its visitor numbers from the previous year.

The best performing was the National Wool Museum in Dre-fach Felindre, Carmarthenshire where visitor numbers were up by over 20% on 2006-07 to more than 21,000.

The National Museum Cardiff in Cathays Park also did well with visitor figures climbing 18.5% to over 350,000.

Museum visitor figures
National Museum Cardiff - 06/07: 298,236 07/08: 353,509 up 18.5%
St Fagans: National History Museum - 06/07: 598,130 07/08: 674,678 up 12.8%
National Roman Legion Museum - 06/07: 70,084 07/08: 62,881 down 10.3%
National Wool Museum - 06/07: 18,070 07/08: 21,755 up 20.4%
National Slate Museum - 06/07: 135,292 07/08: 136,536 up 0.9%
Big Pit: National Coal Museum - 06/07: 158,628 07/08: 159,123 up 0.3%
National Waterfront Museum - 06/07: 256,287 07/08: 264,195 up 3.1%

National Museum Wales said the rise could be attributed to the continued success of the free entry policy which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government.

It also said the opening of the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea in 2005 had helped as well as a strong programme of events and exhibitions to mark National Museum Wales' cetenary in 2007.

These included a new indoor gallery at St Fagans called Oriel 1 and an exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff which told the story of art collectors Gwendoline and Margaret Davies.

The museum's director general, Mike Houlihan said the museum was looking to further the visitor experience with a number of long and short-term projects.

"The first will allow the national art treasures and natural history collections to be displayed more effectively at Cathays Park, and the second will enable St Fagans to affirm itself as the National History Museum for Wales and tell the story of the people of Wales from the earliest times to the present day," he said

New museum breaks visitor targets
16 Nov 05 |  South West Wales
Museum move draws thousands
01 Apr 02 |  Wales

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