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2 Taiwan museums listed in world's top 20 for attendance

TAIPEI -- The National Palace Museum in Taipei and National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung have been ranked among the world's 20 most popular museums in 2013 by a U.S. business association.

The California-based Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) released the ranking of global museums and theme parks by attendance last week.

The National Palace Museum, home to one of the world's largest collections of imperial Chinese artwork and artifacts, came in 13th for attendance last year with 4.41 million visits, an increase of 1.2 percent from the previous year. It ranked second in Asia, behind only the National Museum of China in Beijing.

The National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung came in at 18th with just short of 3.4 million visits, a 15 percent increase from 2012.

Unsurprisingly, the Louvre in Paris, France was the world's most popular museum by attendance, attracting more than 9.3 million visits. It was followed by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. in second place with 8 million visits and the National Museum of China in third place.

The Beijing museum, which welcomed 7.45 million visitors, recorded the greatest growth of any museum on the list at 38.7 percent.

Rounding out the top five were the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. with nearly 7 million visits and the British Museum in London with 6.7 million visits.

The largest decline on the list was seen at the Tate Modern art gallery in London (ranked 12th), where attendance dropped 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Despite the fall, the report concluded that museums had a strong year in 2013 with overall attendance growing over 7 percent annually.

“The U.K. again performed well with a number of museums up 15 to 20 percent (in attendance),” the report noted. “The Asian museums were notably up also.”

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