Annual attendance tops 2M at England’s National Portrait Gallery
LONDON – The National Portrait Gallery this week welcomed its 2 millionth visitor—a milestone that sets up the highest annual figures in the gallery’s history when they are published at the end of the month.
The group of visitors through the door when the figure of 2 million was reached was given a surprise welcome by the gallery’s director, Sandy Nairne.
The Cara family from Northampton—Melanie, 45, Dave, 44, both doctors, and Josh, 14—were presented with a year’s membership to the gallery (offering them special previews, discounts and free admission to all paying exhibitions), a £100 voucher for the Portrait Restaurant and copies of the Gallery Guide and Highlights book.
“This is wonderful. I’m a regular visitor to the National Portrait Gallery and most of my knowledge of the history of British monarchs was learnt from my visits here over the years, “ said Dave Cara.
The Caras were the 2 millionth visitors recorded since the 2011-12 financial year started last April (the full figures will be published at the end of this month).
Last year’s figure was 1.8 million while the gallery’s previous highest ever figure in 2009-10 was 1.96 million visits.
The period included the three most-visited months in the gallery’s history: February 2012 and July and August 2011.
One-hundred thousand people have already visited the hugely popular “Lucian Freud Portraits,” and last year’s “BP Portrait Award 2011” exhibition—free entry made possible by BP’s sponsorship—received the largest number of visitors for any National Portrait Gallery exhibition (341,050).
“The growing popularity of the National Portrait Gallery is made possible by having creative and hardworking staff, dedicated volunteers and great trustees, supported through an enterprising combination of public and private sector funding,” said Nairne, gallery director .
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