With the recent success of the exhibit Body World, the Museum of Science is hot to find inventive ways to draw new crowds to its ‘front door’*. Body World welcomed over 160,000 visitors in 88 days and set records for exhibit attendance. According to Mark Mortenson, President and CEO of the Buffalo Museum of Science, “The Body World exhibit set records for attendance, revenue and profit generation. What was great about the Body Worlds exhibit is it proved that Buffalo is worthy (and lucrative) for these unique, world renown exhibits.” Now, how do you keep the momentum going? You look to see what other types of entertainment are captivating the mass audiences… take Avatar for example. The museum is now looking to land a permanent draw with a recent announcement that it is setting it eyes on transforming its 400-seat auditorium into a 3D cinema.
After hearing this exciting news I reached out to Mark Mortenson to ask him about the museum’s plans. Mark was very enthusiastic regarding the theater and told me that, “The main part of the conversion is equipment-based and the installation of a new screen. We have been actively approaching funders about sponsorship for this experience and we anticipate funding confirmation in the very near future. Our plan is to have this experience implemented in time for the opening of our new themed experience, Robotic Dinosaurs, that will open June 26th. The digital cinema addition is an opportunity for us to leverage an underutilized asset of the museum, to expand our experience platform and provide incremental profit for the bottom line. The main content will be science-based features, but we will have the occasional special event screening (i.e. Polar Express at holiday time). Digital 3D equipment and film productions have become much more affordable making this the right time to incorporate this technology.”
*Before I let Mark go, I couldn’t help but ask about the future hopes of re-opening the grand facade entranceway to the museum – a dream of many people in the community. “The front entrance is a concurrent priority,” he explained. “But we are focused on the transformation of our interior experiences as they are the main source of engagement for our community and help with our sustainability. We have asks out to funders to support the architectural design funding to further our diligence on the front entrance. We will require approx $500K to complete the architectural and design documents. Opening the front entrance of the museum has been a dream of ours for many years. Given our funding priorities, we are going to focus our fundraising efforts on the interior renovation of the museum, but at the same time explore and take advantage of every opportunity to support the ongoing project to open the front entrance.”
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211-1293
Image: T-Rex provided to the museum by Kokoro Dinosaurs – part of the “Robotic Dinosaurs” exhibit.