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Weather conditions and museum attendance: a case-study from Sicily

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This paper evaluates whether and how weather conditions affect museum attendance. As a case study, we examine the daily attendance at the Museo Regionale della Ceramica (Regional Museum of Ceramics) in Caltagirone, Sicily (Italy), over the period starting from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2016. In addition to the daily and monthly fixed effects and the influence of tourism, which are investigated by the available literature, we document a significant effect of weather conditions, specifically temperature and rainfall, which work in an asymmetric way across the different seasons. Temperature has a significant non-monotonic effect on museum attendance, with an increase having a positive impact in low-temperature (non-summer) months and a negative impact in high-temperature (summer) season; rainfalls encourage museum visits but only during summer months. Some long-term projections concerning the impact of weather modifications upon museum attendance due to climate change are proposed and discussed.

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  1. However, remember that the Museum of Ceramics in Caltagirone is not a state museum, and we limit our attention here to the paid admittance.

  2. Caltagirone is in inner Sicily; the daily maximum temperature in August (the hottest month) is around 34.5 °C while the daily minimum temperature in February (the coldest month) is around 6.2 °C (average values over the last decade).

  3. The results of these regressions are not reported in the table, for the sake of brevity. They are available from the authors upon request.

  4. Detailed results, not reported for the sake of brevity, are available from the authors. Consider that the correlation between the time series of tourist arrivals and overstays is above 0.9. Also note that overnight stays in Sicily are hardly affected by museum visits to Caltagirone, so this variable can certainly be considered exogenous.

  5. The quadratic effect of the temperature can resemble the outcome in Dubois et al. (2016). Of course, this does not mean that this temperature is the “optimal” one. Needless to say, this value is the “aggregate” result of heterogeneous individual behaviours.

  6. During the summer months, the average daily attendance is 20.99 and the average temperature is 25.26; during the non-summer months, the average attendance is 11.09 and the average temperature 14.00.

  7. The LMF test statistics on residual autocorrelation is 11.91 with p value 0.001; White’s test on homoscedasticity gives TR2 statistics equal to 231.0 with p = 0.000.

  8. The number of censored observations, corresponding to the value equal to zero, is 379.

  9. Available economic studies providing simulations on the effect of climate change generally consider variation of temperature included in the interval of 1.5–3.0 °C (Dell et al. 2014).


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The Authors thank Paolo Figini, Antonello Scorcu and three anonymous referees for helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Roberto Cellini.

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Cellini, R., Cuccia, T. Weather conditions and museum attendance: a case-study from Sicily. Climatic Change 154, 511–527 (2019).

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