Fewer people are paying to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, yet the annual cost to taxpayers to keep the facility running continues to climb. According to new statistics obtained by the Winnipeg Sun, paid admission fell 8.8% in the 2016-17 fiscal year compared to the previous year.

There were 171,061 paid ticket admissions to the museum’s galleries in 2016-17, down over 16,000 visitors compared to the previous year. Last year was the museum’s second full year of operation. The CMHR opened in September 2014 and handed out thousands of free admissions in the first few months to help celebrate the opening. Museum brass tend to pad their admission numbers by including not only paying customers, but also free admissions, visits to the facility’s gift shop and restaurant – even by those who don’t visit the galleries – and people who rent one of the many conference or meeting rooms who also don’t visit the galleries. When all those numbers are included, the museum boasts that it attracts well above the 250,000 visitors a year it had originally projected.

However, when just the paid admissions are counted – which includes individual tickets, school groups, members, group tours and special event tours – the numbers are well below 250,000. And they’re falling. Which means own-source revenue is in decline, too, while museum costs continue to rise.

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