Merriam-Webster’s defines inflation as “a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services.”

We’re most familiar with the concept in an economic context. Each year, a dollar buys less. In times of high inflation, it buys a lot less. A loaf of bread costs more now than it did in 1912. There are all sorts of inflation calculators online to help you figure out just how much more.

Can this concept be applied to museums?

According to the 2010 census, Boston’s population increased 4.8% from 2000. Does this mean that a museum in Boston should have aimed for a 4.8% increase in attendance from 2000 to 2010 just to keep treading water?


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