In recent years, the federal government’s Institute for Museum and Library Services has engaged in a major effort to document the population of museums in the U.S. The IMLS dataset includes all manner of museums – of art, public history, natural history, and many other museums subsectors, including those that are private (commercial and nonprofit) and public, i.e., operated by a government body . While other museum databases have been prepared by private sector organizations, the IMLS data represent the most comprehensive tally of museums . It includes about 35,000 individual museums available to U.S. residents

This measure represents the number of those museums located in every county for every 100,000 county residents.

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 2,973. Average county indicator value = 26.3. Median county indicator value = 15.8.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

International cultural tourism proves recession-proof. Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more.  The U.S. Dept of Commerce reports that the percentage of int’l travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17% to 24%), while those including concerts and theater performances have increased five of the past seven years (13% to 17% since 2003).