Economic downturn hits King Tut

Not even the golden wonders of pharaonic Egypt can lure people out of this winter of economic discontent, as the Dallas Museum of Art is finding out.

They weren’t even looking to make huge money off the traveling exhibit, which has raked in the cash in cities around the US since it opened in Los Angeles 3 years ago. Dallas just wanted to break even, but with an expensive show like this, that means 1 million people have to see the exhibit at full price.

Now that discretionary spending is tight for so many, that number is looking increasingly distant.

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.

Bonnie Pitman, the museum director, and Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, are still optimistic that they’ll reach their goal. The holidays will hopefully bring a spike of visitors.

Any shortfall will hit the museum hard. The terms of the loan are confidential, but Zawi Hawass has been bragging about how much bank the Egyptian government is making from the exhibit.

They get their cut first, you see. Then the promoter. Then the museum, assuming there’s anything left. Egypt is guaranteed at least $6 million from the ticket sale proceeds, after that, they get a percentage of profits.

Up until the financial crisis, these kinds of exhibits were sure to be blockbusters and therefore worth the exhorbitant loan fees. Not so much anymore.

For more about the exhibit and to purchase tickets should you be in the area, see the Dallas Museum of Art site.

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6 Comments »

Comment by Steve
2009-02-01 17:35:36

I completely agree with this assessment. I live in the DFW area, and I’ve noticed the number of tour/school buses parked outside the museum has dropped dramatically. It’s a shame, though, because this is a once in a lifetime experience.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-02 09:02:00

Very true. I see movie ticket sales were up this January. I wish people would think of a visit to the museum as a huge value for dollar compared to watching a movie.

 
 
Comment by Anonymous
2010-10-19 19:18:15

:confused: :chicken: :boogie: :boogie: :blankstare: :D :( :love: :lol: : :evil:

 
Comment by Anonymous
2012-03-05 19:37:27

wow nice website

 
Comment by Cecil Burkett
2012-07-30 11:25:32

Why do the Egypttians need to make so much money off average American families? I appreciate the loan of the exhibit, and this is a great chance for school children and others to experience a little magic, along with a connection to history, culture and the humanities in general. It seems like Egyptians, or at least those calling the shots, would want to give access to as many people as possible. It seems like they are tripping over dollars to grasp at some pennies.
Long live King Tut!

 
Comment by Mike M
2012-10-27 01:06:21

Why in the world should national governments make money hands-over-fist in order to display exhibits of our shared human history, in order to educate people about our past, and hopefully, spark interest in history among our children?

What sleezeballs.

 
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