Titanic buoys state museum attendance

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A last-minute addition to the exhibition schedule, "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," turned out to be a boon to the Indiana State Museum.

The museum reported Tuesday morning that the show, which closed on Sunday, attracted 88,465 paying visitors during its 103-day run and boosted overall museum attendance by 45 percent.

"Titanic is the biggest exhibit we've had," spokeswoman Kathi Moore said. "It really did bring the State Museum into the forefront for the first time in a very long time."

Titanic attendees paid $10 on top of the regular museum admission, which is $7 for adults without a membership.

The State Museum will not keep all ticket revenue from Titanic, though terms of the agreement with the Atlanta-based company that brought the show, Premier Exhibitions Inc., are confidential, Moore said. The main benefit of the blockbuster was the increase in overall museum attendance. Overall museum attendance was 135,666 during the period, compared with 74,087 a year ago.

The State Museum's last blockbuster was "The Lord of the Rings: The Exhibition" in 2005. Moore said. Titanic probably benefited from a longer run, which coincided with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

The State Museum is not planning to host any outside traveling shows in the near future, though that can always change. Moore said. Premier Exhibitions offered Titanic because of a last-minute change in its schedule. Meanwhile, the museum is putting the finishing touches on "Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn," which the staff has been developing for the past two years. The show is slated to open in September and run for about 18 months.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art's fall exhibition, "Andy Warhol Enterprises," which ran through Jan. 2, exceeded projections of 40,000 attendees, spokeswoman Katie Zarich said. More than 47,000 people attended the show, though not all of them bought the $14 ticket. (Information on paid admissions was not available Tuesday morning.)

The IMA, where general admission is free, sold memberships to 1,902 households during Warhol because the special exhibit was free to members. The IMA has 8,139 member households.


  • Cronies
    I agree. I think Susan Williams was a Frank O'Bannon crony. She seemed to be totally insulated from accountability - and there you have it. A monolith to mediocrity, and Susan Williams keeps working her many (mediocre, milquetoast) cronies that populate the Indiana good-ole-boy network.
  • $100 Million of Mediocrity
    Susan Williams fired a noted architect and hired a local firm, back in the late 90s to design this monument to mediocrity (Indiana State Museum). Now that attendance is in the gutter, and few citizens give the museum a passing thought, we see what $100 million of taxpayer money got us. I spoke against firing the noted architect at the time, Susan Williams was very dismissive. I knew at the time the new design would simply not stand the test of time. And it hasn't. Public officials should be held accountable.
    • Updated exhibits
      Artifacts are actually rotated in and out of displays approximately four times each year. We just wanted to take a moment to respond to the comments from Robb and Sue. Though our Core Galleries may appear the same each time you visit, we actually rotate artifacts in and out about four times a year. Sometimes there are small changes and sometimes they are bigger - but they do change. And our Treasures cases in the Great Hall are also changed out several times a year. Add that to our many temporary exhibits (you won't want to miss Art for the Nation opening on Jan. 29) and events and each visit is a different experience. We hope you will give us another chance!
    • Quality
      The Museum does not have the same exhibits it had 30 years ago... seeing as how it opened in its new location 9 years ago, and I was impressed with the updated exhibits then. However, since that time, I'll give you some leeway, Sue... some updates periodically would be nice. I'm not going to complain about the same items being displayed over the decades - history does have a habit of remaining pretty unchanging. Yet new viewpoints, new rediscoveries, and focused exhibits further detailing some pieces of the more general exhibits... those would be nice to see.
    • quality
      Unfortunately, attendance will fall back to where it was previously because the exhibits are boring, dusty and old. I don't think anything new has been added in years. It is the same stuff I saw when I attended as a child 30yrs ago!

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