New figures show that the Museum of Hartlepool has been named the most popular free admission local authority museum in the Tees Valley.
The museum – which is at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience - now regularly receives over 130,000 visitors a year compared with an average of about 105,000 five years ago.
The Museum of Hartlepool has a well-earned reputation for the variety and frequency of its exhibitions, so I’m delighted by these latest figures.Coun Kevin Cranney
It welcomed 132,720 visitors in 2014/15.
The boost in numbers is due to the popularity of the changing exhibition programme with people looking for an enjoyable and cost-effective day out.
Mark Simmons, Hartlepool Borough Council’s museum manager, said: “Visitor figures started to rise in summer 2012 with our exhibition of teddy bears from the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood and a strong programme of interactive temporary exhibitions since then has helped to keep the museum fresh for both regular and new visitors.”
The museum’s recent exhibition, Voices of the Bombardment – commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Bombardment of the Hartlepools – received an amazing 50,500 visitors during its run, making it the most popular wintertime temporary exhibition since the museum opened in 1996.
Mark added: “Visitor numbers in December and January were up 20% as local people and schools came to find out more about the bombardment and especially to see the ceramic poppies from the Tower of London display that we used in the dedication ceremony for the new bombardment memorial.”
The museum figures add further weight to recent data from the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM) – which assesses the impact of tourism around the country - which showed that tourism generated over £142m in Hartlepool in 2013 – 21% up on just four years before.
Councillor Kevin Cranney, chairman of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “The Museum of Hartlepool has a well-earned reputation for the variety and frequency of its exhibitions, so I’m delighted by these latest figures.
“They further reinforce the results from STEAM that Hartlepool is going from strength to strength as a very popular visitor destination.”
The museum’s current exhibition – ‘Pirates – Fact and Fiction’ – is also proving very popular and runs until 28th June.
The Museum of Hartlepool is open every day from 10am to 5pm and entry is free.