LONDON (DPA): According to information provided by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the Natural History Museum became the most-visited museum in the United Kingdom last year, achieving a 21% increase in attendance.
It has achieved this despite being closed for five months of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these phenomenal figures given the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic – not least the closure of the museum for more than five months,” Museum Director Doug Gurr said.
The museum’s popular temporary exhibitions have helped drive visitor numbers over the year, including “The Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature” showcase, which is inspired by creatures dreamt up by J.K. Rowling from her “Harry Potter” spin-off series.
The exhibition, which was developed in partnership with the BBC and Warner Bros., had 128,000 visitors in 2021.
Its “Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It” display, which engages visitors with the planetary emergency, has already been seen by 500,000 visitors since it opened its doors in May 2021.
More than 75,000 visitors have seen the museum’s popular photography exhibition – “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” – since it opened on Oct. 15, 2021.
Dippy the Dinosaur, a 26-meter (85.3-feet) installation of a Diplodocus cast, will also return to the museum in May after it recently concluded a four-year tour of the U.K.
The dinosaur cast was first put on display in the London museum in 1905 and has been seen by more than 2 million people over the course of its nationwide tour.
“We have an exciting year ahead of us – we’re looking forward to introducing a whole new generation to the nation’s favorite dinosaur with ‘Dippy Returns’ opening in May and the beginning of the transformation of our gardens as part of the Urban Nature Project,” the museum’s director of public programs, Alex Burch, added.
“As part of our drive to become a more inclusive museum we are continuing to develop our community program and exploring ways to engage underserved audiences,” he said.
The museum said it will continue to run its popular events throughout the year, including “Silent Discos,” “Yoga at the Museum,” “Adventure Babies” and “Behind the Scenes Spirit Collection Tour.”