Hit Egyptian exhibit ends its run Sunday

January 15, 2004|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

Since it opened nearly four months ago, some 72,000 people have purchased tickets to the exhibition Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum, making it the third most popular show ever presented by the Walters Art Museum.

Now, as the show approaches its final day on Sunday, the museum has announced it is extending its normal visiting hours tonight and Saturday to 8 p.m. in order to allow as many people as possible to view the exhibition before it closes. The extended hours will be in effect despite the possibility of a snow emergency this weekend.

The monumentally scaled show, which covers 3,000 years of ancient history and presents more than 140 objects, many never before seen in this country, takes up two entire floors of the museum.

It includes a playful looking three-ton stone lion carved from red granite, stern-faced colossal heads of Egyptian rulers and huge slabs of ancient temple and tomb walls decorated with elaborate relief sculptures.

Museum officials say only the 1998 Impressionist show Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny From the Musee Marmottan and 1997's The First Emperor: Treasures from Ancient China have attracted more visitors to the Walters.

The Monet exhibition sold 105,560 tickets, while the China show drew almost 93,000 paying customers.

In addition, Ancient Egypt set a record for the number of schoolchildren who have seen the show -17,000 - as well as for the percentage of African-American visitors to the museum. (Twenty-four percent of those seeing the show were African-African, as compared to 6-7 percent for previous shows.

The museum is at 600 N. Charles St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Sunday. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students. Children under 6 admitted free. Admission is by timed ticket; advance reservations are recommended. Call Ticketmaster at 410-752-1200 or purchase tickets at the museum box office.

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