Audience demographics for New South Wales museums and galleries

Museums and Galleries NSW, the peak body for that sector in the Australian state of New South Wales, has just released an extensive audience survey. Entitled Guess Who’s Goingto the Gallery? A Strategic Audience Evaluation and Development Study, it’s a fascinating trove of demographic information about 32 museums and galleries across New South Wales.

Some of the top-line findings highlighted by the report’s authors include:

  •  One persistent finding across galleries and across regions is the skew towards females and towards the over 55’s in the audience base.
  • Around 2 in 3 visitors are female (rule of thumb) and nearly half (47%) of the audience is over 55’s. Both of these are over represented in galley audiences compared to the relevant ABS data.
  • Metro Audiences are younger than the region audiences (41% vs 30% under 44 years old). However the regional population is generally older than metro population (37% vs 18% over 55 years)
  • Also, it is interesting the public gallery audiences skew away from the under 35’s whereas the age group in the middle (35-54, ie: “the family age band”) are relatively proportionate to ABS data (around a third or 32%). In other words, the increase in over 55’s appears to be offset by the dip in under 35’s.
  • audiences in NSW public galleries are showing a skew towardstertiary degrees, particularly post-graduate degrees
  • Interest in the types of events, public programs and exhibitions at the gallery varies primarily by demographic segment. In general, younger audience members (under 35’s) show different tastes to older audience members, and in particular younger audiences have a greater interest in live performance and music at the gallery (whereas older audiences are more interested in artist talks and workshops), and have a greater interest in contemporary art and emerging art forms such as digital media arts.

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