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Springfield Art Museum breaks attendance record

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For the third year in a row, the Springfield Art Museum broke its own attendance record.

During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 63,379 people visited the 1111 E. Brookside Drive museum, according to a news release.

It’s the third straight record since an earlier benchmark of 56,155 was set in 2004, when the museum hosted an exhibition of photographs from Ansel Adams. Data provided by art museum spokesman Joshua Best show fiscal 2018 attendance was 60,570, up from 58,576 in fiscal 2017.

“These attendance figures demonstrate consistent, day-to-day use of the museum as a valuable educational resource,” Springfield Art Museum Director Nick Nelson said in the release. “These figures aren’t tied to some outside blockbuster show or event. We are proud that our visitors are making real connections with our collection, in addition to all the exciting traveling exhibitions and community events happening at the museum.”

Best added the weekly 1 Million Cups business pitch event counts toward attendance.

The records come as the art museum prepares for a previously announced $19 million expansion and improvement plan. The 30-year master plan, developed by Kansas City-based architecture firm BNIM, is designed to put the local museum on par with those in Kansas City and St. Louis, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The timeline of the master plan is contingent on fundraising, according to the release.

“The museum is in the very early stages of our capital campaign,” Best said via email. “Currently, we aren’t actively soliciting direct gifts to the building project, as we are working to secure public funds toward the site work of Phase I, which has to be completed in order to do any building work.”

The museum’s permanent collection contains more than 10,000 objects, Best previously told SBJ.

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