Saying goodbye VMFA’s Chihuly exhibit

RICHMOND (WTVR) – After about three months on display, movers began packing up the fragile Chihuly exhibit today at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Lead packer, Paul Arnhold says this is no easy move.

“I err on the side of caution,” Arnhold says.

Hundreds of pieces of glass, created by artist Dale Chihuly need to be packed up and shipped out.

“Every piece of glass that was shipped here was tracked. Everything was accounted for,” Arnhold explains.

The challenge for the packers is trying not to break this delicacy. They’ve been successful so far, only shattering the VMFA’s record books.

“Look! It’s beautiful,” Suzanne Hall, in the communications office for the VMFA says.

Hall along with the other 160,000 people who purchased tickets to gawk at the exhibit between October and this past Sunday helped the museum surpass its sales from all of the VMFA’s previous exhibits.

“Chihuly has great popularity among many, many people,” Hall says.

Many people also shopped at the museum and ate in the cafe, setting yet another record.

Hall explains that she thinks the reason Chihuly was so popular, despite the fact that the artist has a niche audience and isn’t well-known to the general public, is because tourists could take photos.

Naturally, the photos went viral on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The museum’s marketing team instantly took on additional help.

“Chihuly is brilliant to allow people to take pictures,” Hall says.

Museum goers left with photos, but the museum took something away from this experience as well.

Chihuly helped the museum realize what works when it comes to attracting more tourists to the city. Securing a popular exhibit during the holidays, when people have more down time is just one way the VMFA is working to attract more tourists.

“We will continue to bring popular, must-see exhibits to Virginia,” Hall says.

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