St. Louis Public Radio News
4:27 pm
Tue September 14, 2010

Vatican Splendors almost sets attendance record

ST. LOUIS –

Attendance at the Missouri History Museum is up sharply this year, thanks to a just-closed exhibit of art from the Catholic Church.

More than 382,000 people have stepped inside the museum in Forest Park so far this year. Just 310,000 people visited last year.

Museum president Bob Archibald says "Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art" which closed Sunday, was a big draw. More than 100,000 people toured the collection of paintings and artifacts.

Archibald said that unique special exhibits will keep new visitors returning and that the success of Vatican Splendors makes it easier to attract those exhibits.

"Now when other institutions are putting traveling exhibits on the road, and they're looking for a Midwest venue, they call us," Archibald said. "And that means oftentimes we hear about things first."

Upcoming special exhibits include one about Napoleon opening in November. An exhibit from the Field Museum in Chicago about mammoths and mastodons will also travel to the history museum.