Stupid Countries, Stupider Museums
I remember when the first King Tut exhibit came to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1976-77. We were staggered by the gold, the glitter, the gorgeous workmanship and artistry of these ancient artifacts. How could the Egyptian Museum send all this stuff overseas, Peggy and I asked each other.
In 1980 we visited the Egyptian Museum, and it turns out that the traveling Tut exhibit three years prior was peanuts; the museum is stuffed to the gunwales with unbelievable goodies.
Cairo hardly needs the Rosetta Stone.
Cairo’s message to the British Museum: “Keep the Rosetta Stone and put out brochures offering great travel deals to Egypt. In return, we will tell our visitors that they simply must see the Rosetta Stone in London.
Art Brings Tourism
People that go to museums love art, have spare time and often plenty of spare cash. Many of them travel incessantly and are constantly on the prowl for ideas of new places to visit.
For example, during the three summer months of 1996, the Philadelphia Museum of Art put on a barn burner of an exhibition devoted to 170 works by Paul Cézanne. It attracted 700,000 people and put $60 million into the coffers of local hotels, restaurants, shops and transportation.
As a result of the current four-city tour of King Tut artifacts—Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago and currently ending up here in Philly—it is estimated that it will be responsible for inspiring 200,000 to 500,000 Americans to visit Egypt.
This past May, Peggy and I went to Madrid for the first major Tintoretto show in 70 years. The Prado would not take reservations. When we arrived, thousands of people disgorged from dozens of tour buses that were waiting in line. Peggy and I do not travel 30 miles—let alone 3,000 miles—to wait in lines. We never got to see Tintoretto. So we drove to Toledo for the El Grecos.