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Lady Lever Art Gallery sees increase in visitor numbers
THE Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight saw an increase in visitor numbers last year, according to a new report.
Figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions show a rise of 7% through the historic venue's doors.
In 2011, 188,304 people saw its exhibits, rising by more than 12,000 to 200,759 visitors last year.
Its curator, Sandra Penketh, director of galleries for National Musuems Merseyside, told the Globe: "We're delighted to see the rise in visitor figures at Lady Lever Art Gallery.
"In 2012 we had two major exhibitions; An Age of Confidence and A Pre-Raphaelite Journey: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale which were very popular with our visitors.
"We also had two very welcome guests in the form of stunning self-portraits by Gauguin and van Gogh on loan from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, which were a huge hit!
"We’re looking forward to another busy year in 2013, with the opening of The Drawings of Edward Burne-Jones: A Pre-Raphaelite Master in June.
"Featuring an exquisite selection of rarely seen drawings and watercolours by the celebrated Victorian artist, all from our own collection, the exhibition is not to be missed by Pre-Raphaelite fans."
This wasn’t the only success story on Merseyside, though. The statistics also show the Museum of Liverpool attracted more than one million visitors, making it the most visited museum in England, outside of London.
The number of visitors to the nearby Walker Art Gallery increased by 40%, mainly due to the popular exhibition 'Rolf Harris: Can you tell what it is yet?' The International Slavery Museum saw a 9%.
Dr David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: "In 2012 National Museums Liverpool had our most successful year ever, with more than 3.3m visits.
"We attract more people now than we did during Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture five years ago, and nearly five times as many as a decade ago.
"We are thrilled that the Museum of Liverpool is the country's most visited museum outside of London. We are equally thrilled that it has been awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2013, proving that the Museum's success has been noticed internationally.
"Our museums and galleries are exciting and emotional places to visit - that's the secret of our success. We want our venues to inspire and educate, and also be fantastic for families.
"Across all our museums we like to try new things and reach new audiences. The big challenge is maintaining this success when public funding is shrinking."
Cllr Chris Meaden, cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure said: "Wirral'+s visitor economy is buoyant, with attractions like the Lady Lever Art Gallery and our fantastic restaurants, guesthouses and hotels contributing to a £289 million sector.
"Wirral is attracting more than 6.5 million visitors annually, who are coming here to visit our historic parks, visiting for events like last year's Ricoh Women’s Open and bringing jobs and investment to the area.
"The Lady Lever Art Gallery is a world famous facility, which rightly draws huge numbers of visitors to Port Sunlight, visitors who make a significant investment into the local economy.
“I’m proud of the way the Council works alongside local businesses through the Wirral Tourism Business Network, and creates resources for visitors such as our recently launched Food and Drink and Group Travel Guides."