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The World's Most-Visited Museums


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Florian Zandt


Even with travel restrictions, curfews and closures of tourist attractions all over the world due to coronavirus pandemic, the Museé de Louvre still saw 2.7 million people visiting its exhibitions in 2020. As our chart shows, the runner-ups for the title of most-visited museum in the past year don't really come close.


Coming in second place is the National Museum of China situated in Beijing with roughly 1.6 million visitors. The museum is a result of the 2003 merger of the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the National Museum of Chinese History which were founded in 1950 and 1912, respectively. Even when judging its age by its oldest department, the state-led institution is still the youngest on the list. The Vatican Museums, on the other hand, are only in sixth place when it comes to the number of visitors, but were founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, making them one of the oldest still existing museums in Europe.


Overall, museum attendance went down by roughly 78 percent across the 20 most-attended museums in the world, with only 22.4 million people visiting those kinds of institutions in 2020. According to a survey by the International Council of Museums conducted in September and October of 2020, the impact of COVID-19 will be most visible in a reduction of public programs and exhibitions. 67 and 62 percent of respondents, respectively, named these consequences of the pandemic as likely, while only six percent believed that their museum had to close for good.


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