September 3, 2007 in City

T. rex ends terrific 18-week run

Staff writer
 
Holly Pickett photo

Mead residents Kevin King, left, and his son Adam, 12, take digital photos of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton cast on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

By the numbers

Attendance: 49,272

Ticket sales: $164,000

Estimated total income: $296,000

Estimated profit: $131,000

Source: Northwest Museum

of Arts & Culture

So long, Sue.

After 18 weeks in the spotlight at the MAC, the wildly successful “A T. rex Named Sue” exhibit ended Sunday.

“We were blown away by Sue’s popularity,” said Bruce B. Eldredge, chief executive officer of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. “We more than quadrupled our numbers over the same period as last year. During the final two weeks, our attendance just exploded.”

While an average year would see 10,000 MAC visitors between May and August, this season more than 49,000 folks saw the 42-foot long, 13-foot high, fully articulated Tyrannosaurus rex created by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

“I talked to a lot of adults who went through all the interactive stations,” said Eldredge.

“They would go to one of the educational pods, read through the material, then go back at take another look at Sue.”

The museum scheduled back-to-back youth tours during the school term with more than 8,100 students visiting Sue.

“It was great seeing all the families with young children in the museum,” said Chris Major, the MAC’s curator of education. “We hope that many of the new people who discovered the museum will now realize that it can be a fun place for families to visit.”

In addition to quadrupling attendance, the museum saw a tremendous return at the museum souvenir store.

“Retail sales are up 300 percent over same period a year ago,” says Eldredge. “It’s been a great exhibit all around.”

After taking a breather today for Labor Day, the museum staff will pack Sue away on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, three semitrucks will back into the museum’s cargo bays, pick up Sue’s crates and head to the Anniston Museum of Natural History in Anniston, Ala.

On Friday, trucks will arrive from the Oregon Historical Society in Portland with the next exhibit – the Smithsonian Institution’s “Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers.”

“This is another exciting show,” said Eldredge.

“Basketball great Bill Russell will be here sometime during the run of the exhibit,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to hosting him.”

Goodbye Sue, hello Bill.

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