Spring attendance down

Museum % change from 2012
Canadian Aviation Museum +83.0
Currency Museum  +49.4
Canadian Museum of Nature +5.3
Supreme Court of Canada +0.4
Parliament Hill -3.3
Canadian Science and Technology Museum -4.8
Canadian Museum of Civilization -6.9
Royal Canadian Mint -7.0
Canadian Agriculture Museum -9.6
Canadian War Museum -10.8
Rideau Hall -20.3
National Gallery of Canada -47.1
Total attendance -5.7
(% change is for April-June, Source: Ottawa Tourism)

A lack of blockbuster exhibits this spring is likely part of the reason for a decline in visitors to Ottawa's museums and cultural attractions, according to tourism officials.

Attendance numbers for April, May and June show the number of visitors declined from the same time period a year ago in 8 of 12 museums in the National Capital Region.

The National Gallery of Canada had one of the steepest declines, with a 47.1 per cent decrease in attendance from the previous spring.

Ottawa Tourism spokesperson Jantine Van Kregten said while it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why attendance dropped in all the cases, travelling exhibits made an impact.

"Last year for instance, Van Gogh was at the National Gallery of Canada. That's a huge draw. This year, an amazing exhibit with Sakahàn, but it doesn't have the name recognition that a Van Gogh does," she said.

Star Wars gives Aviation museum a lift

Similarly, the museum that saw the biggest overall boost was the Canadian Aviation Museum, which this year has featured an exhibit centred around the Star Wars films.

Attendance at the aviation museum is up 83 per cent for the three-month period from the previous year.

Olivier Bouffard, a spokesperson with the science and technology museum corporation, said the the dip in numbers for the science and technology museum may be linked to a drop in group packages, including school groups.

He said the decrease in school groups may have been related to work-to-rule job actions by teachers.

While museum attendance was down, hotel occupancy rates were up slightly over the same time period.