Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton's SeaCity Museum: Visitors almost halve

SeaCity Museum
Image caption In the museum's first year in April 2012 as part of Titanic's 100th anniversary visitor numbers were above expectations at 150,000

Southampton's £15m SeaCity Museum has seen visitor numbers fall by almost half since it opened three years ago, its latest figures show.

A BBC Freedom of Information request has found that 78,000 people visited in the last year - its target was 115,550.

The fall has cost the city council-run attraction £280,000 in the last financial year.

Since opening in April 2012, as part of Titanic's 100th anniversary, it has cost the authority over £700,000.

'Attract new customers'

The Labour-led authority said it hoped a new dinosaur exhibition would boost numbers over the summer.

It said it was also carrying out research "to help us understand what will attract new customers to the venue" and it hoped to start drawing the thousands of weekly cruise passengers to the attraction.

"We have to remember that it's a fairly new beast and it's about moving forward and offering something a lot more creative," said Labour councillor Satvir Kaur.

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption The museum tells the story of Southampton's history as a port city

Jeremy Moulton, deputy leader of the Conservative group on the council, said: "It's disappointing because it's such an amazing, fantastic museum. It should be getting more people through the doors."

The museum is dedicated to Southampton's maritime heritage and the Titanic which made its ill-fated voyage from the city in 1912.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a £4.9m grant towards the cost of the museum - the rest of the £15m came from the city council.

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