Government Doubles its Estimate on Number of U.S. Museums

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May 19, 2014;Associated Press

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that it estimates that there are now 35,144 museums in the U.S., which is more than double its working estimate of 17,500 in the 1990s. The designation of “museum” applies to aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, art museums, children’s museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks. But before anyone starts talking about unprecedented countercyclical growth, it appears that some of the increase in numbers may be due to the counting methodology.

In any case, there are a lot of museums, and information about them can be accessed in these data files and maps.

By the way, there are 123,000 libraries. Nice!—Ruth McCambridge