Most of the important cities of the world have three or more major museums. In the top cities, the museums attract more than 2 million visitors each. It appears that for the top cities, additional major museums result in exponential growth in visitation of the museums and other cultural resources. Support for the largest museums in cities with three or more major museums is largely generated from visitors who come from outside the cities.
The Smithsonian offers free admission. It is, of course, publicly funded by taxpayers across the nation. Visitors to the Smithsonian, as well as federal government centers and National Park Service units on and near the National Mall, rank Washington DC as a top U.S. tourist destination with other industry-specific cities, including Orlando amusement parks, Las Vegas casinos, and New York City theatres and museums.
The above graph compares combined visitors to the top three most visited museums in several prominent cities. The three most visited units of the Smithsonian are used to represent Washington DC.
Report on Visitors to International Museums
Introduction: International Museum Visitors
Significant International Museums
Examples of Prominent Museums of Culture
Visitors to Top Three Museums in Prominent Cities
Visitors to Major Houston Museums
Major Sports Attendance Compared with HMNS
Sports Attendance Compared with Museums