This from The Australian:
A Day in Pompeii - Australia's most popular museum exhibition
THE Melbourne Museum closed its doors last night on the most popular museum exhibition ever seen in Australia, A Day in Pompeii.
Since it opened on June 25, one in 10 Victorians, or 325,000 people, visited the collection of films about, and artefacts from, the lost city of ancient Roman times. The figure exceeded the museum's projected audience by 60 per cent.
"I'm delighted to be wrong," said Patrick Greene, chief executive of the Melbourne Museum.
"We've never had an exhibition beyond 170,000 before."
Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, by comparison, said the 2003 Star Wars exhibition was the most popular it ever staged, attracting 230,000 visitors.
The National Gallery of Victoria earlier this month reported 330,000 visitors to its Salvador Dali Liquid Desire exhibition, which like Pompeii was badged as a Melbourne Winter Masterpiece and given marketing support by the Victorian Major Events Co and Tourism Victoria.
The Victorian government will not disclose how much these exhibitions cost to mount or what the gross box office figures are on the grounds they are commercial-in-confidence.
"We don't release the cost and conditions of securing these major cultural events as it would provide rival cities with an unfair advantage," said a spokesman for Arts Minister Lynne Kosky.
However, unlike some previous Winter Masterpieces exhibitions, which were imported from foreign museums and galleries, both the Dali and Pompeii shows were unique to Melbourne, a credit to the local curators who worked for many years developing them.
But having been developed within the local institutions, other institutions, both local and overseas, are unable to compete for them.
"An exhibition like this cost a number of millions to put on," Dr Greene said.
Melbourne Museum has also managed to offset its costs by selling the exhibition to Wellington's Te Papa museum, after which Pompeii will most likely enjoy a season in Singapore.