MN Museums contribute $674 million to state’s economy

A University of Minnesota Extension study released today finds that Minnesota museums contributed $674 million to the state’s economy in 2011.


Weisman Art Museum, one of approximately 600 museums in the state of Minnesota

Photo: Weisman Art Museum

Lead researcher Brigid Tuck says survey staff contacted 562 documented museums around the state to come up with the total economic impact. She says the impact came in a number of ways.

The direct impact, which is seen by the museums themselves just for their operations, is $337 million, and that’s broken down, in the study we break it down by operations and by capital improvements.

Tuck says the survey found that museum tourists alone have more than $50 million dollars in economic impact in the state.

So museums are bringing people into their communities from outside their region. We defined that as more than 50 miles, which is the standard definition for tourism, kind of for tourists. So we found that museums really are bringing in people to into their communities and those people are spending money in those communities.

An estimated 1.7 million people visited Minnesota museums located outside their home regions in 2011, spending an average of $24.35 each. The study is being released in conjunction with Minnesota Museums Month. It is believed to be the first survey of its kind.

  • Stefan J

    To view the numbers more clearly it would be helpful to know the amount of state funding received by all Minnesota museums. I’m not sure how easily those numbers are obtained, but I’m interested in the “return on investment,” and whether the social value of these museums (which I believe is very high) is mirrored in any way by the economic impact.

  • YEAH

    Yeah, right! As a former employee of a well-known museum in Saint Paul, they pay the floor staffs with medium wages, treat us like crap, the environment is not much different than Walmart. On the other hand, the CEO of the museum get paid hundred times better than the employees (is this moral?). I wonder how these federal grants are spent for these so called “non-profit”….Hmm…