New estimate has Tut drawing even more

Posted: May 31, 2007

Franklin Institute officials are boosting their attendance forecast for the King Tut show halfway through its run at the science museum.

The number of visitors now expected to see Tut before it packs up Sept. 30 is 1,140,000, up slightly from the initial forecast of a million.

That would make Tut the most popular show to be hosted by the Franklin Institute, and would make Philadelphia the highest-drawing venue of the show's four U.S. stops (though the Philadelphia run, at nearly eight months, is also the longest on the tour, which also included Chicago, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale).

As of yesterday, 640,000 had come to the Franklin Institute to view the collection of 130 artifacts from the tombs of the boy king and his predecessors.

School groups accounted for nearly a quarter of visitors - 152,592 - a segment that drops off in summer. Still, Franklin officials expect a large tourist, summer-camp and group adult business over the summer.

And in September, which is normally a slow month for the museum, school groups are expected to give the show a last-minute push.

"We're already seeing some school groups book for September that normally wouldn't come in September," said Karen Corbin, the Franklin's vice president for marketing.

Philadelphia's science museum has increasingly relied on traveling shows - some of which are only tangentially related to science - to drive attendance.

Next up is "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination," organized by the Museum of Science in Boston with Lucasfilm, which includes scale models and props from the films. It will run from February through April.

After that, from Memorial Day through Halloween, the museum will host "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship," produced by National Geographic, which also organized the Tut show.


Contact culture writer Peter Dobrin at 215-854-5611 or pdobrin@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/peterdobrin.

"Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" is at the Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., through Sept. 30. Tickets are timed and dated, for admission between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Adults $27.50 ($32.50 Fri-Sun); seniors, students and military with ID $24 (Fri-Sun $30); children 4-11 $17.50. Group tickets available. Information: 1-877-888-8587 or www.fi.edu/tut.

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