The Louvre Tops the List of Most Visited Museums

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The Louvre in Paris topped the art museum attendance numbers for 2009, with 8.5 million visitors.

Home to nearly 35,000 objects -- and a McDonalds -- the museum houses three of the most sought after art pieces: the "Mona Lisa," the "Venus de Milo," and the "Winged Victory of Samothrace."

The British Museum in London came in second with around 5.6 million visitors, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art had 4.9 million guests walk through its doors.

Although these museums normally stand proud at the top the list, other institutions with new wings have seen boosts in numbers. This includes the Art Institute of Chicago, who unveiled a Modern Wing last May and saw 450,000 more visitors.

Most Visited Art Museums in 2009

Louvre, Paris 8.5 million
British Museum, London 5.6 million
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 4.9 million
National Gallery, London 4.8 million
Tate Modern, London 4.7 million
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 4.6 million
Centre Pompidou, Paris 3.5 million
Musee d'Orsay, Paris 3 million
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2.8 million
National Museum of Korea, Seoul 2.7 million

Source: The Art Newspaper
The numbers were released by the Art Newspaper, a British publication who has surveyed art museum attendance figures for 15 years.

The most visited exhibitions were also surveyed, with Japan claiming the top four slots. Tokyo National Museum's "Ashura" exhibition attracted 15,960 people per day, just ahead of Nara National Museum's "61st Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures," with 14,965 attendees per day.

"As in 2008, the average visitor-per-day statistics from Japan are staggering," said the Art Newspaper.

Further down the list are French shows, with Musee Quai Branly's "2nd Photoquai Biennale" bringing in 7,868 people per day, and Grand Palais' "Picasso and the Masters" and Centre Pompidou's "Kandinsky" attracting 7,270 and 6,553 guests a day respectively.

According to the Art Newspaper, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has a strength that is "unrivalled." In 2009, seven of the top 16 shows came from the museum. Joan Miro attracted 6,299 visitors a day, and Pipilotti Rist's "Pour Your Body Out (7345 Cubic Meters) pulled the same number of visitors.

Thanks to a street artist named Banksy, the City Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol joined the list of top-ranked exhibitions for the first time. "Banksy vs Bristol Museum," an exhibit where the illusive graffiti artist mixed over 100 of his own works amongst the museum's collection, brought in almost 4,000 visitors a day.
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