British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art

British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museums are regarded as institutions that conserve collections of artifacts and other objects of artistic, historical, cultural and scientific importance. A museum makes these collections available to the general public for viewing purposes through exhibits that may be temporary or permanent. On most cases, large museums are located in major cities. Various trends are changing in this institutions based on digitalization aspects being brought about by the change in technology. Purposes of museums keep on changing and vary from one museum to the other. Some favor conservation over education while others favor education over conservation (Karp, 2006). In the olden days, museums were initiated as private collections of the wealthy people or families in the society.  Public access was only possible for those that were deemed to be respected in the given community. However, things have seemed to change over the years. Nowadays, museums are highly associated with tourism. The two sectors have seemed to establish a favorable relationship hence bringing about mutual benefits. Museums tend to form part of the economy in countries where they are situated. This is because they are among the key drivers of the tourism industry in these economies. They help in attracting visitors hence building a brand for the relevant countries. Museums are major beneficiaries of income that emanates from visitors. As a result, the growth of tourism has contributed immensely to a vast of changes found in museums. The community has been able to understand these changes and accommodate them on their mix. The two entities tend to complement one another on a wide range of aspects.  Based on this, museums have developed to being focal points and points of physical convergence in the community (Kotler, 2008. To some extent, they have also become points of convergence for pleasure, thinking, knowledge and reflection.

Background Information

British Museum

The museum was established in 1753 and it is located in London. Based on its collections, it has been dedicated to human culture and history. The collections involved are permanent and there is over 8 million works involved. Collections in this museum originate from different continents and documents human culture from its origin to the present condition. It is among the most comprehensive all over the world. On its initiation in 1753, the museum entailed collections from the scientist and physician Sir Hans Sloane. British Museum was first opened to the public at the beginning of 1759 (Perkins, 2007). In the following two and half centuries, the museum has been experiencing aspects of expansion. This expansion has emanated from the expanding British colonial footprint. To a larger extent, it has created several branch institutions among them being Museum of Natural History in 1887. Some of the objects obtained from different countries have brought about controversy in recent times. A good example is the Elgin Marbles that were obtained from Parthenon. There are calls that such objects should be returned to their place of origin. In 1997, the British Library was separated from the museum. The British Museum was very unique before the separation took place. This is because it hosted both the national library and national antiquities under one building.

The museum’s mission statement is being an ambassador of culture to the entire world. Individuals responsible with the running of the museum have taken necessary measures to ensure that this mission is realized. One way that the management has done this is by ensuring that the museum has collection of arts from different parts of the world. Most of these collections from other countries are believed to have been obtained during the colonial period. Most of them originate from the countries that were colonized by Britain. Another way that the museum tries to realize its mission is by promoting the museum all over the world. There are several advertisements placed in international media houses in attempting of creating awareness of its existence in the world. Tourists are the ultimate target of such promotions since they bring in revenue when they visit the museum. The British Museum has contributed significantly to the development of the tourism industry in UK (Goddeeris, 2009).

In 2012, the museum had 5,575,946 visitors. This number constituted of both local and international visitors. For the local visitors, children under the age of 16 made up the highest number. The statistics show that they constituted around 60% of the local visitors (Lickorish, & Middleton, 2012). Occurrence of this outcome was attributed by the motive of their visit. At this age the desire for visiting such as such a place is for learning purposes. Most schools make it compulsory for their students hence resulting to these large numbers. The ticket price for adults is 14 pounds, children under 16 is free so long as they are accompanied by paying adults. Groups are charged 11 pounds and students 12 pounds. Members usually have a free entry.

In terms of governance, the British Museum is developed as a non-departmental public body. It is sponsored by the department of media, sports and culture and is headed by a director. A group of 25 trustees have been mandated to control the museum. The director is included in this group and his work to report various aspects to the government (Dallapiccola, 2010).

Metropolitan Museum of Art  

It is the largest art museum in United States located in New York City. Metropolitan Museum of Art bares significant collections hence booking its place among the three largest art museums in the world. The museum has permanent collections that entail more than 2 million works, which have been segmented into 17 curatorial departments. Metropolitan Museum of art’s main building is located at central park along Museum Mile in Manhattan. In terms of area, it is among the largest there is in the world.  The roots of this museum date back to 1866 in Paris. Here, a group of Americans came to an agreement of creating a gallery of arts that would be recognized as a national institution. The ultimate objective of this ideology was to bring art education and art to the people of America. Later on the group came forward and established the museum in 1870 (York & Montebello, 2005). There were several stakeholders in this group and each played a distinct role in the realization of the museum. They included financiers, leading artistes, businessmen and thinkers. The opening of the museum was held in 1872 along 681 Fifth Avenue.

Metropolitan Museum of art has a mission statement that aims at collecting, studying, exhibiting, preserving and stimulating appreciation for works of art. Arts involved are believed to represent a spectrum of human achievement in terms of quality. All this is in accordance to the professional standards. The museum is working towards its mission statement by ensuring that the collections involved are of high quality. They cover all periods of history and include the present. All the collections are preserved in the best way possible and provided to the general public for various purposes (Ioannides & Timothy, 2010).

In 2012, the museum had a total of 6,115,882 visitors. This entailed both the international and local visitors. For the international visitors, the adults contributed to the highest percentage. They contributed to more than 70% of the visits. Metropolitan Museum of Art has no specified ticket prices for its visitors. There is a direction that every visitor should pay as they want. However, the museum has been accused of its misleading marketing techniques. From the provision of “pay as you want”, there is a prerequisite recommendation of $25 (Lickorish & Middleton, 2012). The cashiers designated in the museum are highly trained in convincing the visitors to pay the $25 dollars. For this reason, their marketing campaign is being viewed as deceitful.

In terms of governance, the museum’s collections are owned by corporations and benefactors that entail around 950 persons. A board of 41 members that are elected is involved with governing the museum. Together with the board, some city officials are also involved.

Comparative Techniques Utilized

Two comparative techniques have been used in the evaluation of the British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Quantitative techniques are involved in the analysis of the number of visitors each museum tends to obtain annually and the ticket prices involved. The Metropolitan Museum of Art seems to be attracting more visitors compared to its compatriot. Figures from 2012 statics show that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had 6,115,882 visitors while the British Museum had 5,575,946 visitors. One advantage of this technique is that numbers do not lie. From the figures, it is clear that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is more popular compared to the British Museum. This aspect might be attributed to the nature of collections involved or the geographical location. On issues regarding the ticket price, it becomes easier for the visitors to decide on which destination they opt for. The British Museum seems to be more specific on its while its compatriot leaves its prices to be vague. However, using a quantitative approach in this comparison is not very favorable based on the differences that exist in different economies. Differences experienced might be triggered by other factors beyond the management’s control.

The qualitative technique on the other hand, comes on issues regarding to the governance and mission statements. In both museums, the management aspect has been left on the hands of chosen trustees. The technique has an advantage in that it is easy to assess future operations of n entity based on the management team involved. However, using the mission statements might work as a disadvantage because the museums might have different objectives. Different objectives usually result in different strategies.

The above comparison is justified. This is because the two entities are found in the tourism industry. Most of their objectives are similar and the target populations seem to be similar too. Despite being in different countries, the tourism industries tend to operate across similar networks. Furthermore, the two museums target the international community in their offerings.

Comparative Evaluation

In both United States and UK demand in the tourism industry seems to be going high. The British and the Metropolitan Museum tend to benefit in this stance. The demand trends in both museums seem to be changing with time. In the British Museum, there is more demand of present collections from the visitors. This is being attributed by the fact that most of the local visitors are children below the age of 16. To them, some of the collections are not very fascinating and are in need of works that they can relate with. When it comes to variety, the Museum is well stocked due to the colonization aspect that Britain was involved in. The management is doing the best it can to help satisfy the desire of this kind of consumers. This is in line with the desire of attaining its mission statement. On the other hand, demand trends in the Metropolitan Museum of Art are based on variety. When compared to the British Museum, the number of collections is minimal. This is because the museum does not house a lot of works from outside the country’s territory. The type of demand is being established by the adults. Most of the people visiting the museum seem to have adept knowledge of the collections that they desire to see. They have come to learn about some of them from books and other relevant publications. In some cases, they visit websites of the museums around the globe and hence desire to see such things in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When it comes to aspects of supply, management team from both museums ensures that the will of the people is met. Through this, they tend to supply the visitors with what they desire. The collections in these museums have been increasing as time passes by. Visitors to the museums have contributed immensely to what type of works to be included in the offerings.  Along with the consumer demands, strategies and policies used in the museums has contributed to the supply frameworks. Policies devised ensure that quality is given a high priority at all times. The British Museum has a strategy of ensuring that it serves visitors from all over the world in the best way possible. This is enhanced through its mission statement that aims at being an ambassador of culture to the entire world. This aspect affects the decision making process of the collections to be supplied to the public. For this reason, the collections supplied must emanate from different parts of the world. Metropolitan Museum of Art on its part emphasizes on preservation and education. It targets at adding some knowledge to it visitors through the collection offered for exhibit. The supply in this museum is dependent on what value a specific collection would add to the community in terms of knowledge (Reynolds, & Baetjer, 2002).

The markets for both museums have the potential to grow in future. Among the reasons that would contribute to this is the level of awareness being created. Both museums are being involved in a lot of promotional activities in terms of advertisements. There has been a favorable response since the visitors are increasing with time. Another factor that is going to affect the future demand is the baby boomers generation. Most of them are attaining the age of 60 years and hence will get their retirement benefits. They will have a lot of time on time on their side and funds to spend (Brux, 2008). As part of their leisure, they are likely to visit these museums.

Growth of the two museums will affect both United States and United Kingdom’s economies. As the two entities expand, there will be an increase in revenues being generated in both economies. This is because the museums are involved with the tourism industry which is a good source of income. Growth in the industry brings about growth in the general economy. Another social impact to be brought by the growth is creation of more employment opportunities. It world help the countries in trying to bring some level of full employment hence improving the living standards (Norton, 2012).

On future projections, development of the Metropolitan Museum of Art seems to be certain. At the moment, the Museum only offers around 2 million collections. This is very minimal compared to what is being offered by the British Museum (8 million collections). However, Metropolitan Museum receives more visitors on an annual basis. This is an indication that as more collections are being added, the museum will continue to attract more visitors in the future. British Museum on its part, the future is uncertain. Recently there have been controversies regarding some of the artifacts contained.  Most of them were “stolen” during the colonial period. Some of the countries have out to demand for their rightful possessions. If these collections will be returned to their rightful origins, then the number of offerings in the museum would decrease. To some extent, this might reduce the number of visitors to the museum.


Purposes of museums keep on changing and vary from one museum to the other. Some favor conservation over education while others favor education over conservation. Nowadays, museums are highly associated with tourism. The two sectors have seemed to establish a favorable relationship hence bringing about mutual benefits. The Metropolitan and British museums have a lot in common. Among them is that both have a wide range of collections and are located in big cities. Their mission statements aim at prosperous operations in the future. Metropolitan Museum of Art needs to add more items in its collection for future success. This is because its consumers are demanding for this addition. Failure to cater for their needs would be giving the competitors in the region a great opportunity. This is because they will strive to sway away the unsatisfied visitors. British Museum on the other hand, needs to keep hold of its current collections. Amid the recent controversies it should not give back what it has preserved for all that time. Doing this would help in retaining their current visitors and attract more in the future.




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