South East Museum Development Annual Data Survey of Museums

Posted on: 3 September 2019


South East Museum Development is conducting its Annual Data Survey of museums. The purpose of the survey is to gather evidence to help demonstrate and prove the social and economic importance of museums both locally and regionally to funders and stakeholders.

The survey asks museums and heritage organisations across the region to provide core statistical data about their visitors, educational engagement, volunteers, staff and financial operations for the period 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019.

Last year just under 60% of all Accredited museums in England responded to the survey – we hope to improve on this!

Key findings from the participating museums in England 2017-18:

  • Generated over 155 Million in earned income
  • 25.3 Million of income from retail operations
  • Volunteer time was worth £21.4 million to museums across the regions

What’s in it for museums?

  • Advocacy – evidence to make the case for your social and economic value in order to sustain investment
  • Performance benchmarking – consistent data to compare your museum’s operational context
  • Informing strategy – knowing your operational context will support your business planning
  • Fundraising – the data can be used as evidence to support funding applications or to express your value with the public

How to complete the survey

  • The survey can be completed online here
  • You can save your answers and return to the survey at any time
  • All figures should be for the financial period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019
  • Please complete as many questions as possible. We know that sometimes providing an exact figure can be hard so if you do not have final data, please provide your best estimate
  • Some questions are marked mandatory and require a response. If a question does not apply to your museum, or an answer to a particular question is not known then please specify this by adding N/A in the answer box
  • If the response to a particular question is 0 then please specify this rather than leaving it blank
  • We recommend downloading and reading the survey questions and gathering the data required before completing the on-line form. The survey questions are linked below.
  • If you are a museum service or trust that runs multiple museum sites you should have been contacted separately regarding completing this survey. If not please email
  • Please complete and return the survey by Friday 18th October.
  • Some questions in this survey align with the NPO Annual data return. National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) may choose to provide their NPO survey data (PDF download from Grantium, or excel documents with relevant data) for inputting. Please email for further information. Questions which align with the NPO survey are also identified by the relevant NPO question number in case you prefer to input this data.


Questions about the survey

The survey is being carried out by the South West Museum Development team on behalf of South East Museum Development. If you have any questions about completing the survey you can contact

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, and we look forward to sharing the results with you.


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