Increase in Visitorship to Historic Sites

In the Art Newspaper, Brook S. Mason reports on the increase in visitors to artist sites and historic homes in the US and the UK—a product perhaps of the economic downturn.  Though the art market may be suffering, people may be staying closer to home and visiting the historic sites and areas near them:

“Staycations” in the US seem to be driving attendance at some National Trust properties. “We have anecdotal evidence confirming that people are spending less, staying closer to home and visiting more of our sites,” says James Vaughan, National Trust vice president for historic sites in Washington, DC. But the US National Trust, with a membership of only 250,000, pales in comparison to the British National Trust, which has 3.6m members . . .

“We were passive before, but now we’re building an entire community by asking literally everyone to support preservation and modernism,” says Glass House executive director Christie MacLear. “Considering that none of the people giving $1,000 and under had ever supported us before, those figures are really compelling,” she says . . .  

“There’s a recalibration of consumer spending from buying a bigger house or jazzy designer handbag to now focusing on cultural experiences instead,” says Ms MacLear. She has found that visitors characterise the Glass House as “inspiring”. Artists Julian Schnabel, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman and Frank Stella have all visited within the past year.

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