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Telefónica renews its commitment as Benefactor sponsor of the Museo del Prado, coinciding with the start of the new 7-days-a-week opening hours Tuesday, January 17, 2012

José Ignacio Wert, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, today presided over the signing of an agreement through which Telefónica is renewing its sponsorship of the Museo del Prado for another four years. On his arrival at the Museum and before the signing took place, the new Minister made a brief tour of some of the galleries on the principal floor, which were open to the public today for the first time on a Monday. He was accompanied by Plácido Arango, President of the Museum’s Royal Board of Trustees, César Alierta, President of Telefónica, and Miguel Zugaza, the Museum’s Director.

Telefónica renews its commitment as Benefactor sponsor of the Museo del Prado, coinciding with the start of the new 7-days-a-week opening hours

Plácido Arango, President of the Museum’s Royal Board of Trustees; José Ignacio Wert, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture and César Alierta, President of Telefónica

Telefónica’s renewal of its commitment as sponsor of the Prado’s Visitor Attention programme is particularly significant today, when the Museum has increased its opening hours to every day of the year with the exception of three major public holidays. This initiative, which is a direct response to the general growth in interest in the Museum’s collections and activities that has manifested itself over the last few years in a marked rise in visitors, starting from the time of the inauguration of the Prado’s extension in October 2007, can be directly associated with the improvements and increase in visitor services that have been made over this period, the implementation of which has been possible thanks to Telefónica. Since 2007, more than 13 million visitors have directly benefited from the Visitor Attention service. More than 2.9 million of them visited the Museum last year, which was the year that saw a record number of visitors to the Museo del Prado.

Telefónica’s support, which also extends to “virtual” visits to the Museum, has allowed for the setting up of a new institutional website, which has already become an important channel for the dissemination and promotion of the Museum’s collections and activities. Launched in October 2007, during the following year the number of visits to the site totalled 2.4 million, a figure approximating the number of actual visits to the Museum, while the following year they far succeeded that number with almost 4 million online visits, reaching around 4.2 million visits in 2010 and 2011. According to data published in www.museum-analytics.org, in 2011 the Museo del Prado’s website was the 9th worldwide in terms of number of visits among all the museums monitored by Museum Analytics (more than 3,000). Museum Analytics is a page that compiles and shares statistical information on museums at worldwide level, monitoring visits to their websites as well as to their accounts on the social networks (FB and TW).

The ongoing expansion of the Prado’s website since its complete updating in October 2007 includes the publication of innovative multimedia features including a large amount of audiovisual content, allowing the Museum to promote other means of communication on the internet, making its presence felt and encouraging the interest of numerous followers on the various social networks: Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and more recently Google+. In the case of its Facebook and Twitter accounts, which were the two networks that the Museum first joined in 2009, the Prado has now positioned itself as the Spanish museum with the largest number of followers on these two sites and one of the most followed at European level, in addition to generating an important volume of interactions. To offer a recent example, the first weekly report issued by Museum Analytics this year cited the Prado and the Louvre’s Facebook accounts as those among all museums worldwide on which an item had been shared on most occasions.

Over the coming years, and constituting a key element within the Museum and Telefónica’s collaborative agreement, the Prado will continue to expand its services through the application of new technological solutions that will allow the collections and its activities to become known and to be enjoyed by increasing numbers of people both within and outside the Museum.

The Prado, now open 7 days a week

As a result of the initiative launched today the Museum will no longer close on Mondays and will remain open on Good Friday (one of the few public holidays in the year on which it was not previously open). These changes mark a further step forward in the improvement of the Museum in terms of the quality of its services to the public. It will mean that the collections and temporary exhibitions can be visited every day of the year except on three major public holidays (1 May, 1 January and 25 December). In order to celebrate these new opening hours and once again in relation to the agreement signed with Telefónica today, entry to the Museum’s collections will be free to all visitors on the first three Mondays of these new opening hours: 16, 23 and 30 January.

The implementation of these new opening hours is accompanied by a change in the daily opening hours in order to respond to the times of the day when the Museum receives most visitors. These opening times are now as follows: Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 8pm; Sundays and public holidays on which the Museum is open all day, 10am to 7pm (the exceptions being 24 December, 31 December and 6 January: open 10am to 2pm).

In addition to the improvement in service implied by the increased number of days on which the Museum is open every year – 53 more days as a result of opening on Mondays and Good Friday – there will also be an increase in free opening hours to the Prado, which can now be visited free of charge during the last two hours of every day of the week, except on public holidays. In annual terms, entry to the Museum’s permanent collection will be free to the general public for a total of 1,060 hours. To date, more than 500,000 people have visited the Museum free of charge thanks to the support of Telefónica as a Benefactor sponsor of all initiatives aimed at improving visitor satisfaction and increasing the quality of a visit to the Museum.

In addition, the adoption of these new measures is intended to reinforce the Prado’s position as the public European museum with the longest opening hours (3,542 hours per annum). As a result, the Prado now joins the very small group of major international art museums that are open every day of the week (Tate Modern, the British Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Europe, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, USA).

Visitors to the Museum. Summary of the statistics 1993-2002

  • The ten years prior to the opening of the Museum on Sunday afternoons and public holiday afternoons.
  • Annual average: 1,721,845 visitors
  • The highest annual total during this period, 1,868,705 visitors, was in 1996 (the year of the exhibitions Goya 150 Anniversary and Innocent X).

2003-2006

  • This period, prior to the inauguration of the Museum’s extension, introduced Sunday afternoon and public holiday afternoon opening.
  • Annual average: 2,113,037 visitors
  • The highest annual total during this period, 2,318,525, was in 2003 (the year of the exhibitions Vermeer and the Dutch Interior, Titian, and Manet in the Prado)

2007-2011

  • The period from during which the extension has been open to the public, including 2007, the year of its inauguration.
  • Annual average: 2,766,025 visitors
  • This period saw the highest annual visitor numbers ever achieved at the Museum: 2,911,767 in 2011
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