Antwerp’s new MAS museum is a big success

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By the end of 2011,  it first year in operation the MAS museum welcomed more than 700,000 visitors making it the most frequented museum in Belgium well ahead of the Magritte Museum (425,167 visitors in 2010) and the Open-Air Museum Bokrijk or In Flanders Fields (206,000 visitors respectively).

The busiest month was last August, when the museum received no fewer than 104,000 visitors, while Whit Monday was the busiest day with 7,000 visitors.

The ratio between visitors of the walking boulevard and visitors of the museum boxes is 55% (55% paying visitors and 45% non-paying visitors). The most popular room continues to be the viewing depot on the second floor.

As far as the profile of paying visitors is concerned, most visitors buy a combination ticket (69% of 138,138 visitors), allowing them to visit the permanent exhibition as well as the temporary exhibition. Thirty-five percent of ticket purchases are at full-price (70,500), meaning these visitors are between the ages of 26 and 65 years. Senior citizens make up 15.5% (31,331) of the museum’s audience, while 15% (31,000) are children (-12 years) and young people between the ages of 12 and 26 years. We also welcomed 4,720 school children but guided tours for schools could only be booked from September 1st, 2011 onwards. In 2012 a comprehensive audience survey will yield more results about the profile of all the museum’s (paying and non-paying) visitors.

There were several special events which attracted huge audiences: the Antwerp Youth Capital youth festival MAS[KED] welcomed 2,300 young people while the “Klassedag”, a day for teachers drew 650 families or 2,000 people to MAS.

The guided tours are a big hit. An impressive 3,678 guided tours have already been organised. The public’s favourites seem to be the MAS tour (1117), the Quick tour (632) and Masterpieces in MAS (500).

The ideal time for a quiet visit to the museum is still Thursday evening. Every week one floor is opened to the public between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. As the public does yet not seem to be aware of this opportunity, there is still considerable potential for growth here.

MAS not only has physical visitors. Every day 4,000 visitors check the museum’s website; they are directed to the site via Facebook and/or Twitter. Between May 17th and November 17th more than 5,000 people addressed a mail to the MASmailbox with questions, congratulations or remarks. Every single mail was personally answered.