Get Out of the Sun and Savor the Arts

Expert Advice, History & Heritage

As summer hits its stride and travelers embrace the great outdoors, here’s a reminder that many glorious things can be found indoors as well.

This edition of Leisure Group Travel emphasizes that message as we spotlight some of the finest museums that dot this country’s landscape.

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic decimated museums across the world. After being closed to the public for an average of 28 weeks in 2020 because of the pandemic, domestic museums reported average losses around $791,000. And when visitors finally returned, museums reported only 62 percent of their normal attendance. Things have improved of late, as pandemic fears have waned, but museums, and the arts as a whole, still need our help.

To put it succinctly, the world is better when museums thrive. Want proof?

According to the American Alliance of Museums:

  • Museums support more than 726,000 American jobs 
  • They contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy each year 
  • Seventy-six percent of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities such as visiting museums. These travelers spend 60 percent more money on average than other leisure travelers 
  • The economic activity of museums generates more than $12 billion in tax revenue, with one-third of it going to state and local governments. Each job created by the museum sector results in $16,495 in additional tax revenue
  • In determining America’s Best Cities, Bloomberg placed the greatest weight on “leisure amenities (including museums), followed by educational metrics and economic metrics 

In other words, the arts are not only culturally important, they stimulate the economy as well.

LGT’s affection for the arts is clear in this issue, which, not coincidentally, is our annual Arts and Culture edition. We not only present our best Group-Friendly Museums Guide yet, we also pay a visit to magical Mississippi music museums (say that five times fast), legendary outdoor music venues in the West and extraordinary art museums in Pennsylvania. LGT also makes a stop in Ohio where we explore five art museums that showcase creative culinary dishes and we visit small towns and big cities in the Buckeye State that have been home to some of film’s most memorable scenes.

Not surprisingly, this is a fabulous issue. So, pour yourself a Red Velvet Martini, find your opera glasses and renew your Smithsonian membership. It’s time to be whisked away into a world of arts and culture.

Happy reading,

Jason Paha

Managing Editor

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