With less than a month remaining in the Splendors of Versailles exhibit in Jackson, projected attendance numbers are falling behind schedule, said Jack Kyle, executive director of the project.
“We`re not on track. We`re behind,” said Kyle. “There was a crescendo in attendance right at the end of the Palaces (of St. Petersburg) exhibit. We hope that will be the case for the Versailles exhibit.”
As of July 26, about 240,000 tickets had been sold to the $10.7 million exhibit, which ends August 31. Visitor projections were estimated at 417,000. By comparison, the $11.1 million Palaces of St. Petersburg exhibit ran a month longer and attracted 554,000 visitors.
About one-third of visitors to the Versailles exhibit are from Jackson, another third from within the state and a third are from outside Mississippi.”One cannot measure the success of these exhibitions only in terms of finances, but that is certainly a major consideration of any project,” Kyle said. “The last few weeks hold the key to whether we come out totally in the black and whether we have another exhibit.”
Kyle recently returned from trips to Egypt, Italy, France, Spain and England to explore future exhibition projects, he said.
“Spain is poised as the most likely candidate for an exhibition in the year 2000,” Kyle said. “The success of the Versailles project will be a major factor in determining a year 2000 project.”
Major corporate leadership and city and state leaders will also help determine the possibility of a future exhibition, Kyle said.
E.B. “Bud” Robinson, Jr., who was fundraising chairman for the Versailles exhibit, with more than $2 million raised in the private sector, said exhibits throughout the country are not getting the numbers of visitors projected. “If you look around the country, I think you`ll find the current El Ni