Sunday, April 18, 2004

Papal artifacts exhibit ends today



By Matt Leingang
The Cincinnati Enquirer

About 1,500 tickets remain for Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes, the blockbuster exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

IF YOU GO
What: Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes.

When: Through today.

Where: Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave.

Tickets: General admission: $18.50 adults, $9.50 children (ages 3-12), $13.50 seniors; call 287-7001 or www.cincymuseum.org.

The exhibit, which is already the most popular in Cincinnati history, ends today.

Museum officials say the best shot at purchasing the remaining tickets is online at www.cincymuseum.org. Phone lines could be busy.

More than 163,000 people have toured the collection of 350 artifacts and art since its opening on Dec. 20. The Cincinnati showing - the largest North American tour of Vatican holdings - contains items never seen outside Vatican City or put on public display. It spans 2,000 years of papal history and 15,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Ticket sales have been brisk for the exhibit's final week, said Dave Duszynski, vice president of theatres at the museum.

The museum was crowded Saturday as people flocked to see the show on its final weekend.

"I'd been wanting to go for a long time, but things just got in the way. Finally, I said, 'We've got to do it,' " said Sherrie Messerschmidt, 43, of Loveland.

Messerschmidt was at the museum with her mother, 62-year-old Bev Lacoursiere.

"The amount of history that this exhibit spans is really fascinating to me," Lacoursiere said.

The most popular piece of the Vatican exhibit is "The Mandylion of Edessa," a piece of linen bearing what is considered to be the oldest image of Jesus.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, mounted by the museum in 2001, was the previous attendance record-holder with 160,000 visitors, surpassing 1997's Jurassic Park, which drew 131,672.

E-mail mleingang@enquirer.com




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