Mar 10th 2017

It’s official, museums make us happy!


20th March 2017 is International Day of Happiness and, in celebration of what makes us happy, here’s a little bit about museums spreading cheer.

Research has proven that visiting museums really does increase our happiness.

In 2013 the Happy Museum Project commissioned a piece of research which revealed that “visiting museums is positively associated with higher levels of happiness”.  The report showed that people put a value on visiting museums at approximately £3,200 per year. Just  one of the reasons why we work to enable more people to visit museums in Cornwall.

Subsequent research commissioned by Arts Council England examined how engaging with different arts and cultural activities affected levels of happiness, in addition to everyday activities like travelling, cooking and shopping, and resulted in similar findings. Participants used the ‘Mappiness’ app to record their feelings whilst engaging in numerous activities to measure how happy they were (these included theatre, dance, exhibition, museum, listening to music, reading, doing hobbies, arts or crafts, performing).

All of the above scored highly, with the top three ‘happy activities’ being:

  1. ‘Theatre, dance, concerts’
  2. ‘Singing, performing’
  3. ‘Exhibitions, museums, libraries’.

What’s more, ‘Exhibitions, museums, libraries’ came in as the top cultural activities which have the most positive effects on feeling relaxed.

So, in the words of ACE’s Director of Policy and Research, Richard Russell,: “Whatever you prefer, arts and cultural activities appear to be some of the best things you can do when you need a little happiness pick-me-up. (…) From this exploratory research, the findings are clear: whether you’re on your own or with friends and family, at a museum, a gallery or gig – arts and culture can make you happy!”

Click here for details on the Happy Museum Project’s report and here for Richard Russell’s blog. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to engage in our Happy Museums campaign using the hashtag #InternationalDayOfHappiness commencing on Monday 13 March.