Museums, Zoos and Parks

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 7,400 firms operating museums, zoos and parks in the US earn revenue from contributions, gifts, and grants (public and private sources); admission fees; investment income; and resale of merchandise. Museums preserve and exhibit objects of historical, cultural and/or educational value. Historical sites involve the preservation and exhibition of sites, buildings, forts, or communities that are related to events or persons of historical significance. Zoos exhibit animal life displays. Natural parks are natural areas designated for the enjoyment of the public.

Dependence on Donations

Museums, natural parks, zoos, and related organizations are highly dependent on contributions, gifts, and grants, which account for 35% of revenue.

High Value Exhibits

Many museums, zoos, and historical sites house valuable, sometimes irreplaceable, objects or animals.

Industry size & Structure

The average museum employs 19 workers and generates about $2.6 million annually. The average historical site employs 13 workers and generates about $1.2 million annually. The average zoo employs about 65 workers and generates about $7 million annually. The average natural park employs 13 workers and generates about $1.6 million annually.

    • The museum, natural park, and zoo industry consists of about 7,400 firms that employ about 172,000 workers and generate $17 billion annually.
    • The museum industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for about 45% of industry revenue. The historical site, zoo, and natural park industries are more concentrated, with the top 50 companies accounting for 60-66% of industry revenue.
    • Museums account for about 65% of industry revenue and 70% of firms. Zoos and botanical gardens account for 23% of revenue and 9% of firms. Historical sites account for 6% of revenue and 13% of firms. Natural parks account for 5% of revenue and 8% of firms.
    • Large organizations include the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Diego Zoo.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Museums, Zoos and Parks Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  May 24, 2024 - Museums Added $12.9B to US Economy
                                  • The museums sector contributed $12.9 billion to the US economy in 2022, an increase of 6.9% over 2021, according to recent data released by the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA), a product of the National Endowment for Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The overall arts economy grew by 4.8% in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2021 and 2022, a growth rate higher than the US economy during the same time frame. Some segments of the arts industry have yet to reach their pre-pandemic levels of economic value, including performing arts organizations, non-government museums, and arts-related construction. Total arts and cultural employment recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, reaching 5.2 million workers.
                                  • Consumer confidence levels fell in April 2024 from March 2024, marking a third consecutive month of weakness, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was 97 in April 2024 from 103.1 in March 2024. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “Confidence retreated further in April, reaching its lowest level since July 2022 as consumers became less positive about the current labor market situation, and more concerned about future business conditions, job availability, and income.” Peterson added that confidence declined among consumers of all age groups and for all income groups except those in the $25,000 to $49,999 range. Plans for vacations, home purchases, and large appliances decreased on a six-month basis.
                                  • The US National Park Service (NPS) announced that its 400 national parks had 325.5 million recreational visits in 2023, up 4% over 2022. Twenty parks, most of them not as well known, broke visitation records in 2023, including Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida), Minidoka National Historic Site (Idaho), and Ninety Six National Historic Site (South Carolina). The NPS also noted that off-season visitation is increasing at many parks. Several parks had to close for periods in 2023, including Death Valley National Park in California (closed due to flood damage from August 20 to October 15), Haleakala National Park in Hawaii (several districts closed for most of August due to wildland fires and high winds), and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska (much of the Chilkoot Trail was closed due to flooding in 2023).
                                  • More US national parks will require visitors to use advance tickets and reservations in 2024 to help control overcrowding, according to AFAR. Eight US national parks will require advance reservations, including Yosemite National Park, which experienced severe overcrowding and long wait times in 2023. Yosemite first used a reservation system in 2020 during the pandemic due to large crowds and social distancing guidelines but removed the requirement in late 2022. Visitors at Yosemite will be required to make reservations to enter the park starting again in 2024 during peak periods. Additional parks requiring advance reservations in 2024 include Acadia National Park in Maine, Arches National Park in Utah, Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, Glacier National Park in Montana, Olympic National Park in Washington, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Zion National Park in Utah. The National Park Service took public comments before making the changes.
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