Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tutankhamun and today's economy

Thanks to Stan Parchin for the following articles. The first is dated 30th December, and is entitled "Economy Keeping King Tut Down". It suggests that ticket sales for Tutankhamun in the US are down, probably due to the economic situation. The second one is dated 20th January, less than a month later, and is entitled "Dallas Museum of Art Attendance and Membership Soars to Historic Highs in 2008". It says that Tutankhamun was responsible for museum attendance being a runaway success.

I suppose that whether or not you see it as a success or a failure depends on how you are measuring success!

Dallas News

When King Tut rolled into town in October, Bonnie Pitman, the new director of the Dallas Museum of Art, predicted that 1 million visitors would see the show, with ticket buyers traveling from hundreds, even thousands of miles away.

"I don't see this as a huge moneymaker," she said at the time. "Our goal is to break even."

But neither Ms. Pitman nor the international promoters of "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" expected the financial crisis that has the global economy in a tailspin.

So how is the boy king doing?

"Like every institution," Ms. Pitman said this past week, "we have been impacted by the economic climate."

The Tut exhibit has drawn more than 270,000 visitors during its first three months, Ms. Pitman said, with 90,000 of those being schoolchildren, who, like other large groups, purchased discounted tickets.

With less than five months to go before the show closes May 17, the DMA would have to draw 730,000 to reach the 1 million mark. That would be an average of 146,000 a month, which exceeds its current average of around 90,000 a month.

Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art reached historical highs in attendance and membership in 2008, thanks to the opening of a groundbreaking new education facility and ambitious schedule of major exhibitions and new programs. Museum attendance, which had increased by 100% over the past five years, soared in 2008 to include over 766,000 visitors, highest number on record for the DMA. In addition, six thousand new members joined last year, marking a 25% increase and bringing the DMA’s membership total to over 25,000 (households/people).

This year’s success can be attributed in part to the Museum’s presentation of “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” which marks the first time that treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamun – the greatest archeological find of the 20th century – have been seen in the Southwest. To date, more than 350,000 tickets have been sold to the exhibition, which opened on October 3 and runs through May 17, 2009, already making it the DMA’s most-visited exhibition in the Museum’s 100-year history.

See the above links for more.

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