WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Art Museum
announced its highest attendance for the month of August since 2005, when the Museum reopened following a renovation and expansion project. The Museum welcomed 4,164 visitors in August 2009, an increase of 17% over last year and the best tally since August 2005. This is particularly welcome news since Museum attendance typically declines during the summer months as many potential visitors travel. The Museum credits this increase to the success of the Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport program, the popularity of two new exhibitions, higher attendance for Free Sundays sponsored by AstraZeneca as well as Bank of Americas Museums on Us program, and less travel due to the difficult economy.
I was surprised and pleased at our August attendance, said Executive Director Danielle Rice. Its exciting that so many people decided to spend one of their August afternoons at the Delaware Art Museum ! It was a perfect time to get out of the heat and absorb some artful refreshment!
The Brandywine Treasure Trail program offered a single-rate Passport for admission to nine of the regions cultural attractions from July 6 through Labor Day weekend. The nine attractions were: Brandywine River Museum , Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Historical Society & Read House, Hagley Museum and Library, Longwood Gardens , Rockwood Museum , and Winterthur Museum & Country Estate. Visitors were also able to enjoy special hotel discounts at the Hotel du Pont and the Hilton Wilmington/Christiana. This program was presented by the Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance (BMGA) and was funded in part by the Delaware Tourism Office.
The Delaware Art Museum opened two well-received exhibitions in August. Illustrating Her World: Ellen B. T. Pyle is the first career-overview for Ellen Pyle, a student and sister-in-law of master illustrator Howard Pyle. She was a prolific illustrator during the 1920s, famous especially for her 40 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. At the other end of the spectrum, Exposed! Revealing Sources in Contemporary Art displays works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, and Ellen Gallagher alongside images of their original source material.
Average visitorship on Sundays, when admission is waived thanks to support from AstraZeneca, nearly doubled from August 2008 to August 2009. Also, the Museum saw an increase of patrons using Bank of Americas Museums on Us program in August 2009 over previous months. With this program, visitors who present a Bank of America credit or debit card on the first Saturday of the month are granted free admission. In addition, paid admissions rose slightly from August 2008 to August 2009, as did the number of Museum Members visiting.
The ratio of in-state to out-of-state visitors has remained constant when compared to previous months and years. However, the Delaware Art Museum s visitor service representatives have reported that many customers are acknowledging that they are not taking long vacations this year, and instead are traveling within the region, bringing them to the Museum. Some of these are first-time visitors. As one person wrote in the Museums comment book:
My first visit to your museum. Ill be sure to come back with guests. Hopefully they will share their experience with others. Love your efforts. Thanks for free admission! Loved the Ellen Pyle exhibition!