Museums Cost How Much?

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Museums Cost How Much?

By: grabitsdm | July 28, 2010
There are 137 museum building projects enumerated in Museum magazine from the American Association of Museums, 2003-2010. Of those 119 have both cost and square footage associated with the project. The total investment is in excess of $5.2 billion, and added more than 6.7 million square feet to help the public access cultural heritage. The cost for each square foot averaged $771.69.

In Minnesota, there were five projects noted, and the average cost per square foot was $278.43. In the Midwest region (Association of Midwest Museums represents Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio), there were 25 museum projects (21% of projects) with at total investment of $1,259,245,000.00 (25% of dollars spent), adding 1,786,550 (27% of the space), at an average cost of $704.85. These eight states represent approximately 20% of the U.S. population.

There were 34 history related museums (29% of museums enumerated). The total investment was $639,112,000 (13% of dollars spent), and added 990,100 square feet (15% of the space), at an average cost of $645.50. This perhaps suggests a smaller size of projects or a smaller capacity to raise funds or attractiveness to donors.

There were 94 projects (79% of all projects) $200 - $2,000 per square foot. The total investment was $3,810,900,000.00 (74% of dollars spent) and added 5,883,566 square feet (88% of the space) at an average cost of $647.72.

The mode, or most frequent number, for any of the sorts is $400.00 per square foot. Depending on which source is consulted, new residential construction can average between $120.00 and $380.00 per square foot. The greater cost for museums reflects the specialized climate, security, exhibits, and furniture (such as shelving) that other kinds of construction do not require.

Anything surprising in this data? It is unclear how AAM selected the museums that appear in its magazine. Those that appear tend to be larger institutions, but not always. In what ways might you be able to use data like this?