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Museum Benchmarking Online

Museums can now enter data for FY09–FY12!

Good data makes for good museum planning—and good data helps make the case for all museums, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Now, Museum Benchmarking Online (MBO) makes it easy for you to share and compare vital information about your museum. MBO is the 21st-century version of our Museum Financial Information survey, but user-friendly and with more ways to benchmark yourself against peers.

Getting Started

Start by downloading the full list of questions included in MBO and an overview of comparisons and reports generated by the system. You may also want to gather the following documents:

  • Your museum's budgets for FY10, FY11 and/or FY12
  • Annual reports or audits for those years
  • IRS 990 forms
  • Attendance and staffing figures

Create your account (you will need your museum’s Alliance ID number).

MBO in Action

Museums can enter and store their data for free. Upgrade to Full Benchmark Access to make instant comparisons and generate customized reports that can be filtered on demand. As a subscriber, you can even compare yourself to a peer group of museums you select by name. The standard reports in PowerPoint format include:

  • Overall Revenue & Expenses
  • Staffing (paid vs. volunteer, expenses)
  • Building (operations, maintenance, expenses)
  • Attendance & Admissions (including revenue and income per on-site visitor)
  • Education (school groups, expenses)
  • Revenue sources (government, earned income, contributions, investments)
  • Endowment
  • Operating Expenses (including collections care, marketing, fundraising and Web)
  • Membership
  • Year-over-year comparisons (FY11 vs FY10 or FY12 vs FY11)


Museums can add their data to the system at no cost, but only subscribers have access to instant benchmarks and reports. Consultants, independent professionals, researchers and businesses that serve the museum community can also subscribe.

  Tier 3 & Tier 2 Museum Members Tier 1 Museum Members & Non-members
Data Contributor Free Free
Full Benchmark Access
$99.95 $199.95
Non-Contributor Access
$199.95 $299.95
Alliance Accredited Museums
(accredited member museums: please contact us before creating an account)
Free $199.95

    For more information, contact