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Hot ticket: Leonardo da Vinci exhibit

A screenshot from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science’s website letting customers know about its online ticketing issue.

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Starting Feb. 10, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science will host the highly anticipated “Da Vinci – The Genius” exhibit for almost six months.

While setting up the massive international exhibit on the works of Italian Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci won’t start here for more than a week, one critical hurdle was cleared on Friday during the regular board of trustees meeting in Santa Fe: The board agreed to hire an online ticket vendor.

On Friday, the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration gave approval to go with etix.com.

“The problem is that we have less than two weeks to implement it,” said Margie Marino, NMMNHS director. “There were a lot of complexities in this process.”

According to the museum’s website, with online ticketing not available for customers, museum officials recommend purchasing tickets on site on the day of the visit. This goes for the Da Vinci exhibit, as well as regular museum admission and Dynatheater tickets. Officials hope to have it up before the Feb. 10 opening.

The Da Vinci exhibit contains two parts – “The Secrets of Mona Lisa” and “The Inventions.” There are more than 200 pieces in the exhibit, and about 75 are large-scale or interactive models of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs.

Admission to the Da Vinci exhibit will cost $22 and will get visitors into the museum’s Planetarium for a sky show as well.

Leonardo da Vinci, Italian High Renaissance master, in an undated portrait drawing.

“It’s going to take about two to three hours to tour Da Vinci,” Marino said. “By having visitors able to visit the Planetarium, they can take a break and see one of the shows. We’ll have programs located all around the museum to let visitors know which program is playing.”

Etix.com will handle all ticket transactions online by charging a minimal $1.50 fee per ticket purchased.

Visitors also may purchase tickets at the museum. The fee there will be 15 cents, which is already part of the ticket price.

Marino said with etix.com, the museum is able to use all of their own ticketing equipment as well as the online systems.

“There’s very little up-front costs (for the state),” she said of the new vendor. “The DCA looked at multiple ticketing systems over two years.”

“Da Vinci – The Genius” features more than 200 pieces chronicling the master artist’s life. (Courtesy of Grande Exhibitions)

Meanwhile, the staff is working around the clock in preparation for the 15,000-square-foot international exhibit. Marino said when the exhibit arrives, it will take seven 12-hour days to install.

And a technician is flying in from Australia to oversee it.

“Most of the models come off the truck almost complete,” Marino said.

Organizers are also pushing to accommodate school visits to the exhibit.

“When we send out information to schools, we ask to let them know if we can help them get here,” Marino said. “Some of our sponsors have covered the costs for schools, so there are many schools and charter schools coming for free.”

Leonardo Da Vinci created flight apparatus as well as his iconic paintings. (Courtesy of Grande Exhibitions)

The museum gift shop will be selling Da Vinci keepsakes such as T-shirts and bags.

The gift shop will also be selling audio tours.

Marino says the contract with etix will be short-term and expire after the Da Vinci exhibit is over at the end of July.

“It’s a complicated transition and we might as well bite the bullet and go with it. When Da Vinci is gone, then we can look at if this is the right ticketing system.”

Leonardo Da Vinci created some of the prototypes for the bicycle, car and other things. (Courtesy of Grande Exhibitions)

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