Britain?s flagship photography institution, the newly named National Media Medium, suffered a 25% drop in visitor numbers in the five years to November 2006, according to government figures.

Formerly known as the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, the venue pulled in 662,409 visitors in the year to November 2006, compared to 888,383 five years before.

Based in Bradford, West Yorkshire the free-to-enter museum attracted more than 1million visitors in 2000 when it was the most visited national museum outside London.

Since July 2001 it has been home to the historic collection of the Royal Photographic Society and houses the earliest surviving negative created by British photographic inventor William Henry Fox Talbot.

Responding to the data ? which was released by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport – a spokesman for the museum told us: ?What the figures don’t show is the improvement we are already seeing in visitor numbers, up 9% on last year. This has been especially marked since the opening of our Experience TV gallery, with visitor figures for the month of August up 27% on last year [2005].? He added: ?Our forward plan, announced when we became the National Media Museum last year, includes commitments to refreshing other areas of the Museum including our history of photography gallery to maintain that upward momentum in the years to come.?

Among other museums experiencing a fall in numbers were the National Gallery in London (13%) and Tate Liverpool (12%).

The National Railway Museum in York was visited by 840,387 people in the 12 months to November 2006, a 55% rise on five years ago – before the government scrapped entry fees on 1 December 2001.