Visitor numbers fall at Glasgow museum

The transport museum located in the Scottish city of Glasgow has traditionally been the most visited tram-related visitor attraction in the UK, no doubt largely thanks to the lack of an admission charge. Since being redeveloped as the Riverside Museum at a new site in 2011, attendance numbers have been very impressive but unfortunately 2013 saw a significant drop in visitor numbers.

After attracting more than one million people to visit the Riverside Museum in its first two years of existence, attendances dropped sharply in 2013. A 26.6% drop in visitor numbers meant that less than 750,000 people came to see its delights last year. Although this is still a very healthy number, the rapid decline is much less healthy and perhaps indicates that the novelty of an existing collection being displayed in a totally new museum has now begun to wear off. Naturally, it can be challenging to encourage repeat visits to a static museum but hopefully Glasgow will be able to achieve just that, and stabilise its attendance figures in the years ahead.

The Riverside Museum is home to the largest collection of Glasgow trams in any one place, including two Standard cars and the wonderful ‘Room & Kitchen’ single-deck car 672, as well as the only restored Glasgow horse tram in existence.

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12 Responses to Visitor numbers fall at Glasgow museum

  1. Ross Stewart says:

    Maybe it’s also because the layout of the new museum is much worse then the Kelvin hall with the trams laid out in a very haphazard fashion and with little or no space to take decent photos.
    I find it very disappointing.

  2. Andrew says:

    I disagree. At Kelvin Hall the trams were packed closely together in two long lines. At Riverside they are spaced out and much easier to see and photograph. I have visited both sites, at Kelvin Hall I spent 20 minutes looking at the trams, at Riverside I spent three hours wandering around, looking at the interactive displays, the trams and discovering new things around every corner. Anyone who thinks the trams are not displayed well at Riverside, consider the horse tram, merely placed at the head of a line of trams in Kelvin Hall or exhibited in an authentic looking cobbled street in Riverside.

  3. Since 1964, I was a frequent visitor to both the old Albert Drive tram museum and the Kelvin Hall. The main problem for visiting Riverside is its location. Both earlier museums had easy car parking; the relocated transport museum is not easy to get to for anybody living outwith Glasgow. I agree that both Coplawhill and Kelvin Hall exhibits were squashed and this is where Riverside wins but I personally would much rsather visit Kelvin Hall with its associated car parking and relative proximity to a subway station.

  4. Christopher Callan says:

    In Door Museums were always going to do much much worse last Summer was simply so hot people flocked elsewhere. The only exemptions been when such venues had unmissable moments such as the A4 Gathering as one example.

    The biggest story is why outdoor places like Crich were unable to attract people with such a glorious summer….

  5. Frank Gradwell says:

    The Riverside museum is a disaster, serving merely as a willy waving exercise for the architect – albeit that she is female.

    The internal layout is a complete and utter disgrace and how anyone can suggest it is better than Kelvin Hall utterly defeats me!

    Kelvin Hall displays were themed, and interpreted in a way whereby exhibits actually related to each other and which required more than the attention span of an amoeba to digest the information offered.

    The haphazard mixing of exhibits, especially in the river room where the NBL loco swamps the trams and marine exhibits and you have to crane your neck to see the car displays ledged on shelves up the wall is frankly appalling.

    I will not join the crowd applauding the king’s new clothes. Poor design, layout and interpretation means that he hasn’t got any!

    The final insult is the museum shop – full of books about the architect, squeaky toys, and nothing in between! What have state funded museums descended to?

  6. David Taylor says:

    I agree with the negative responses above. I wrote to the museum about the shambles as I could not get a decent shot of the trams. They replied “that is what people want” Well it looks like it is not as visitor numbers are down. Who wants to see a flying Loco, Motor bikes climbing the walls and trams hidden behind posters? Even the post cards on sale had the posters in front of the trams

    I also suggested they laid track outside and ran along the promenade. This seems to have fallen on deaf ears or perhaps I should say Blind eyes.

    • Christopher says:

      250,000 People More than the previous incarnation. One of the hottest Summers in recent memory. In Door Museums were always going to suffer. Was simply to hot to contemplate wandering round.

      As for your suggestion about a line. Its mentioned in their master plan. But in these difficult times where do you propose the millions required come from…

      It so much better. Attracting a wider range of people. Yes it upsets hardcore traditional enthusiasts but their simply not enough of them to keep places running…

  7. trammy says:

    How many visitors did Kelvin Hall get a year?

  8. kevin ashe says:

    strange numbers have fallen we visited last year first time since the move and we had a great day out great car park,underground links nearby tall ship at the back and a great selection of all kinds of vehicles under the sun

  9. Bill brown, Aberdeen. says:

    I have always thought that whilst the Kelvin Hall sight was latterly becoming cramped looking, the better way forward was to re-roof the whole building and move the running track out, updating the exhibits accordingly..The only part of the Riverside complex that comes up to scratch when available is the boat crossing to Govan. The trams at Riverside are , like most exhibits ,very difficult to photograph and it will be interesting to see how the new Dundee Transport Museum copes with their layout, which opens on the 26 th April. WAB