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A new survey of North American art museums’ attendance and financial information confirms once more that if they had to operate like for-profit businesses and rely on a paying public, they almost certainly would be sunk.

To make ends meet, the average art museum counted overwhelmingly on the kindness of donors, government largess and, if it was lucky enough to have an ample one, returns on its endowment, according to responses the Assn. of Art Museum Directors gathered from 220 of its 236 member museums.

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