Smithsonian museums saw jump in visits last year

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2010 4:20 PM

Visitor counts at the Smithsonian Institution's museums have rebounded to more than 30 million visits in 2009 for the first time since a slump following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A draft report the museum complex released Tuesday shows visits to the Smithsonian's 18 museums, galleries and the National Zoo increased about 19.4 percent in 2009, up from about 25.15 million visits in 2008.

Much of the increase can be attributed to the National Museum of American History, which reopened in 2008 after an extensive renovation. It drew about 1.4 million more visitors last year compared with its last full year open in 2005.

The National Museum of Natural History saw an increase of about 450,000 to 7.4 million visits, making it the most-visited museum.