Tyne & Wear

Great North Exhibition sees Hancock museum visitors drop

Great North Museum: Hancock Image copyright Google
Image caption The Great North Museum: Hancock was closed for a month for the exhibition to be installed

A museum which joined the Great Exhibition of the North actually saw visitors numbers drop because of closures preparing for the event.

The Great North Museum: Hancock and Hatton Gallery had 303,667 visitors between 1 April and 30 November, down 52,227 from the same period in 2017.

It was closed from 21 May to 21 June and again in September to install and remove the Which Way North exhibition.

But numbers across all Tyne and Wear Museums were up, museum bosses say.

A report to the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) Board, it was revealed the 868,687 visitors by the end of October was a 10,000 increase on the previous year.

And the Great North Museum had more visitors during the 80-day exhibition than during the same period in previous years.

'Mixed messages'

The summer's hot weather and timing of the October half term may have played a role in the overall drop for the Great North Museum, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

TWAM director Iain Watson said: "Which Way North saw the entire Great North Museum transformed.

"Temporary building closures allowed us to realise this ambitious project safely and with minimal disruption.

"The exhibition proved to be a great success, attracting 153,119 visitors - our best summer since 2009."

Anita Lower, Liberal Democrat opposition leader for Newcastle Council, said there were too many "mixed messages" about the success or failure of the Great Exhibition and said a "full report" was needed.

She added: "There is a lot of confusion about what worked and what didn't."

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