You may have heard of the V&A effect – but what about the Beano effect?
Dundee’s McManus Museum and Art Galleries has enjoyed its most successful year on record, with its radical rebrand as the McMenace cited as a driver of extra visitors.
More than 205,000 people visited The McManus between April 2018 and last March, up 29.9% year-on-year.
The Tele understands that around half of those visitors came to see the Bash Street’s Back exhibition, curated to celebrate the world’s most famous schoolkids during the Beano’s 80th anniversary year.
And of those, more than half came from outside the city to dive into the rich comic history of the Bash Street Kids.
The McMenace rebrand led to a “highly commended” award for the museum at this year’s Museums and Heritage Awards, where they rubbed shoulders with colossal institutions such as the Natural History Museum.
Mike Stirling, head of Beano Studios Scotland, said the Beano’s contribution to the museum’s success was proof that Dundee remains “the world capital of comics”.
He said: “The McManus team having the bravery to really go in on this was a massive risk but it paid off in spades.
“Changing the name of a popular museum – and not just in the exhibition, but every single sign – was huge.
“It was different from anything else they had ever done before, and the learning team really got into it.
“It was so genuine and it might have inspired the comic creators who could be celebrated on the Beano’s 160th anniversary.”
Overall visitor attendance at the city’s cultural offerings are up 22.7%, with 80% of adults who visit them satisfied with what they have on offer.
Broughty Castle Museum has enjoyed a 9.5% rise in visitors and while attendances at the Mills Observatory are down 31% due to ongoing technical problems, culture bosses are confident they will rise again.
The latest figures also provide an insight into the changing ways in which people are using their local libraries.
Over one million people visited the city’s libraries in the last year – with the Central Library remaining Scotland’s busiest public facility.
While in-person visits are remaining steady the number of digital loans is on the up, with rises of 20% and 30% in the number of audiobooks and digital magazines being loaned out respectively.
The number of digital literacy sessions – designed to get the less tech-savvy among us up to speed – has also risen to 11,425.
However, despite the uptake in activity, Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD) has some hard decisions to make in the near future.
It is preparing to give up on Camperdown Golf Course and reallocate money to Caird Park.
Leisure chiefs say the course needs work they cannot afford – and plan on either handing the club to another operator or returning it to the park itself.
There could be a silver lining to the plan, in the form of a new driving range along with the reintroduction of a nine-hole course.
Sinclair Aitken, chairman of Leisure and Culture Dundee, said: “We are sad that circumstances have led to the proposed closure of Camperdown golf course and hope that golfers will embrace the range of new playing facilities planned for Caird Park.”