"Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" Attracted Nearly 4 Million

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"Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" Attracted Nearly 4 Million
Gilded Funerary Mask of Tjuya, Egypt. This exquisite mask, a masterpiece of the jeweler’s art, was fitted closely over the head, shoulders and upper chest of the lady Tjuya—Tutankhamun’s supposed great-grandmother to preserve and echo her features for eternity. Tjuya wears a long wig and a broad collar of gold and glass. Her eyes are inlaid with obsidian and calcite and the cosmetic lines and eyebrows are inset in dark blue glass. The exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs marks the first time in 26 years that the treasures of Tutankhamum have visited America. The exhibition will fascinate visitors beginning May 26, 2006 through January 1, 2007 at The Field Museum. © Andreas F. Voegelin.

PHILADELPHIA,PA.-“Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” completed its run today at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia as the most popular museum exhibition in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s history. Just shy of 1.3 million visitors since its February 2007 opening, The Franklin Institute was the most-visited venue of the current North American tour of the boy king, making it the second-most successful touring exhibition stop in U.S. history — bested only by 1979’s King Tut tour visit at The Field Museum in Chicago.

“The record-breaking attendance numbers are a testament to the exhibit’s broad appeal, and evidence that Philadelphia has become a destination for visitors both domestically and internationally,” said Dennis M. Wint, president and CEO of The Franklin Institute. “Breaking records ever since tickets went on sale in April 2006, this exhibition has been a huge success, not only for The Franklin Institute, but for the entire region.”

“I believe we have set the new standard for the term ‘blockbuster’ by attracting nearly four million visitors during our four-city tour,” said John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International. “I know that I speak for all the partners involved in organizing this exhibition when I say that it has been truly rewarding to see firsthand the amazement on people’s faces as they gaze at these priceless treasures of the ancient world.”

The Franklin Institute partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) to ensure that the excitement and interest in Egypt would be extended throughout the city through a hotel package, tours, and a retail, restaurant and shopping component called Go Golden. Recognizing the significant tourism potential as the only Northeastern stop for the exhibition, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Governor Edward G. Rendell invested $1 million with GPTMC to create a tourism marketing campaign including advertising, media relations, promotions and online.

“Philadelphia is such a great city for partnerships. Because of that, we were able to help Tut be a blockbuster for the city as well as for The Franklin Institute,” said Meryl Levitz, GPTMC president and CEO. “The city-wide excitement came from the quality of the exhibit, the pride of the residents, the active hotel community, and more than 100 shops, attractions, restaurants and other businesses that joined the Go Golden Tut-themed program.”

The exhibit was visited by travelers from all 50 states and a host of international destinations, helping The Franklin Institute set Institute records for most attended day, week, weekend, month and year since record-keeping began for the museum.

The exhibit exceeded its initial attendance forecast by almost 30 percent, while welcoming 200,000 school children at discounted student ticket prices. Tut-related curriculum material was made available to hundreds of teachers in the Philadelphia area under an educational initiative underwritten by The Bank of New York Mellon, whose predecessor company, Mellon Financial Corporation, served as presenting sponsor for the exhibition. Tickets for children from the School District of Philadelphia were purchased through grants from The Bank of New York Mellon, PECO, Starbucks and exhibition organizer Arts and Exhibitions International. The Franklin Institute also was able to provide special benefits for participants in its ongoing Community Night program.

The group sales category in general for King Tut resulted in approximately 350,000 visitors – a record for The Franklin in one year, and a record for the current Tutankhamun tour. More than 150,000 members of adult groups attended, representing tremendous growth in a new category for The Franklin and a testament to the strength of the partnerships with the GPTMC and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB).

“The enthusiastic feedback that we had been getting from tour operators and group leaders at the group tourism trade shows in the lead-up to the exhibition led us to believe that it would set records for groups,” said Fritz Smith, vice president of tourism, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The numbers further reinforce Philadelphia’s place as a top group destination and represent another milestone on our march to join the top tier for group travel.”

Organized by National Geographic, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, the exhibition drew nearly four million visitors at four venues since June 2005. It attracted 937,613 people at the Los Angles County Museum of Art; 707,534 at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale; and 1,044,743 at The Field Museum in Chicago, breaking records in each city.

The Bank of New York Mellon was the presenting sponsor and PECO was the associate sponsor in Philadelphia.

“The Tut exhibit gave us a unique opportunity to integrate our marketing and community affairs programs in the Philadelphia area,” said Rose M. Gabbianelli, executive vice president and director of global public affairs for The Bank of New York Mellon. “As evidenced by the success of our client events at The Franklin Institute, the benefits derived by schools from our Mellon-supported educational initiative, and the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to the exhibit, we overachieved in reaching our objectives.”

"As a long-time supporter of the The Franklin Institute, PECO, An Exelon Company, is thrilled to have been a part of the history-making King Tut exhibit," said Denis O'Brien, PECO's president and member of The Franklin Institute board of directors. "This premier event has helped to enrich the lives of our valued customers and employees throughout the Philadelphia region."

The exhibition will now travel to London, where it will open at The O2 on November 15.

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