Summer staff laid off as crowds fail to show

“We never promised 10,000, but we expected it to be busy,” ROM spokesperson Francisco Alvarez said. In fact, the ROM is getting only 1,500 to 3,500 visitors on weekdays. If attendance falls short by several thousand visitors a day, the shortfall in anticipated revenues would be more than $100,000 each week.

Eight months before the museum’s massive reconstruction project and its Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal officially opened last month, William Thorsell, CEO of the ROM, said it would be an “architectural” opening.

“For the first 10 days, much of the new building will remain largely unencumbered by stuff,” he said. Mr. Thorsell was gambling on the fact that in Berlin, two years before the Libeskind-designed Jewish Museum officially opened in 2001, it was already one of the city’s top tourist draws, attracting 350,000 people to mostly empty spaces during the two-year period.

Sure enough, visitors lined up for hours for the Toronto Libeskind debut and a schedule that included sensational new exhibitions:

Golden treasures of the Sican people of ancient Peru;

Posters and paintings, some of them erotic, from the demimonde or “floating world” of 18th- and 19th-century Japan;

The fossils and photographs of Japanese-American artist Hiroshi Sugimoto.


~ by suntravel on July 27, 2007.

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