Museums and Happiness: The value of participating in museums and the arts

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Fujiwara D

Year of Publication:

The Happy Museum

Publication Type:


This report looks at the relationships between museums, the arts and wellbeing using data from the Taking Part survey. It looks at the impacts of the arts on people’s subjective wellbeing and health and attach values to these impacts. This is the Wellbeing Valuation approach, which has been recently developed and which now features as part of HM Treasury Green Book guidance. The advantage is that the Wellbeing Valuation approach can be undertaken using any dataset that includes measures of wellbeing.

It specifically looks at the impact on wellbeing and health of participating in and being audience to the arts and of being involved with museums and compare these impacts to other activities such as participation in sport. They attach monetary values to these impacts using standard methods set out in welfare economics and these results can be used in Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) or Social Return on Investment (SROI). Finally, the research also looks at the main determinants of involvement with museums in order to derive a better understanding of the barriers to participation.

The findings show visiting museums has a positive impact on happiness and self-reported health after controlling for a large range of other determinants that may confound the relationship. They also show participation in the arts and being audience to the arts has positive effects on happiness.

Evidence Type: Non-Randomised Evaluation

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Art Forms: Museums

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Fujiwara, D. (2013). Museums and Happiness: The value of participating in museums and the arts. UK:The Happy Museum.