VISITORS to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery were slightly down in 2011-12 because of the absence of a major travelling exhibition, the Launceston City Council heard yesterday.
Aldermen accepted the museum's annual report, which showed that 123,588 visitors passed through the doors compared with 131,619 the previous year.
However, museum attendance has improved since 2009-10 when there were just over 100,000 visitors.
The council-owned facility's operating deficit reached $4.4 million, up from $4 million in 2010-11.
Director Richard Mulvaney said the Royal Park site received 31,000 visitors in the 10 months that it was open in 2011-12, while 90,000 guests made their way to the museum section at Inveresk.
This reflected trends across the country where museums tended to be more popular, largely because of their appeal to children, Mr Mulvaney said.
Asked by Alderman Hugh McKenzie why visitation was declining, Mr Mulvaney said the museum "did not have a major blockbuster exhibition" in the period.
He said staff were focused on attracting more visitors, particularly to Royal Park, which suffered from "visibility problems".
The 2011-12 year was eventful for QVMAG with the reopening of the original museum building at Royal Park, following a $7 million upgrade.
Revenue was up nearly $90,000. However, this was offset by an increase in expenses of nearly $350,000 compared with the past financial year.