One Time ‘Sure Thing’ King Tut Exhibit Now Struggling to Make Money

By Steve Delahoyde Comment


Remember back in October when we said that the decision to bring back the touring King Tutankhamen exhibit would help pump millions back into the struggling museum industry? Well, even we’re wrong sometimes, because we’ve learned that the Dallas Museum of Art, where the traveling exhibit began, is having such trouble luring people in to come see the usual cash cow exhibit that now they’re just hoping to break even with the whole thing; a far cry from the endless bags of money most everyone thought it would bring in. Instead, with visitor numbers way way down and just a handful of months left to reach their very difficult million person mark goal, the only ones getting rich off the whole deal seems to be Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities which takes a flat fee from each museum and then shares any excess profits. Here’s a bit:

The Tut exhibit has drawn more than 270,000 visitors during its first three months, [director Bonnie 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.