The San Bernardino County Museum’s five museum and historic branch sites saw a 14 percent increase in attendance during the past year, which county officials attribute to a commitment to improve museum operations and service to the public.
At the main museum in Redlands, attendance increased 66 percent over a four year period from 2014 to 2018. This trend reverses a long slide in attendance between 2001 and 2014, when the number of museum visitors dropped from about 109,000 to an all-time low of 38,000 at that site. Plans are to exceed 100,000 visitors by 2022, as set forth in the museum’s recent strategic plan.
At the museum’s Victor Valley Museum branch in Apple Valley, attendance grew 48 percent in just the past year, due to the increase in changing exhibits and the opening in August 2017 of CuriousCITY for children under 5 years old.
“We are seeing impressive measureable results in attracting visitors to our County museums,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood said. “I think changes we’ve made in recent years are paying off, and I’m optimistic the trend will continue.”
According to museum director Melissa Russo, the county’s proactive and professional approach to improving museum operations and service to the public have been essential to the current success, including a concentration on organizational and strategic planning to correct operational weaknesses.
“Attendance is just one data point in how we measure our work, but it’s an important one that helps to demonstrate the value we bring to the public we serve,” Russo said. “Anyone who visits our new exhibit, ‘Minerals Rock! Unearthing the Human Element,’ will immediately understand why our attendance numbers are increasing so dramatically. This museum is becoming known for captivating experiences that engage visitors.”
The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.