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Huge visitor turnout prompts Amos Rex to mull pre-bookings

At its worst queues for Helsinki's new subterranean museum have snaked in front of the venue for hundreds of metres.

Amos Rex, teamLab
teamLab's "Vortex of Light Particles" at Amos Rex. Image: Jussi Mankkinen / Yle

The management of the highly popular new Amos Rex museum in Helsinki are considering introducing a reservation system for some displays in a bid to regulate large turnouts at the venue.

Located in the heart of the city, the cultural attraction has exceeded all expectations. During its opening year last year, the goal was to attract 100,000 visitors but according to museum director Kai Kartio, the final number was more than twice the target.

Earlier this week official visitor estimates for the museum's first exhibition, a massive multimedia art installation by the Tokyo-based collective teamLab, were put at more than 250,000. The collection, put together by 500 artists, programmers, computer graphics animators, mathematicians and other creators from various disciplines, will be available for viewing until Sunday and queues for the exhibit have stretched hundred of metres.

Story continues after photo.

Amos Rex -museoon jono
Queues for the museum's premiere exhibition by the Tokyo-based collective teamLab stretched hundreds of metres on occasion. Image: Jouni Immonen / Yle

Kartio told Yle that in order to prevent the lengthy queues, the museum is considering a pre-booking system that would allow patrons to purchase online tickets to certain shows in advance. "It's very possible that it will be implemented in connection with certain exhibtions," Kartio added.

However he noted that a reservation system is not appropriate for all kinds of displays. For example, the teamLab exhibition that launched the new museum could only be safely enjoyed by about 400 visitors at a time. London bookings gone in days

Writing in a Helsingin Sanomat opinion piece on Monday, Kartio said that one risk associated with pre-booking the teamLab exhibition was that the show would have sold out in record time and management would have had to keep a "Sold out" notice posted at the location.

London show sold out in days

He added that a teamLab display staged in London a few years ago had been reserved in just a few days. Without visitor volume restrictions as in the case of the teamLab show, the space can accommodate roughly 800 patrons at a time, the museum director said.

"In such a case a reservation system would work much better," he explained. "It would work better because if you have a lot of space, you could admit those with pre-bookings and at the same time reserve a small quota for people who didn't have the opportunity to book tickets and are random visitors," Kartio added.

The director noted that a reservation system is an excellent option for cases where audiences are used to it and can plan accordingly. Although Kartio said that Amox Rex will likely have a pre-booking system at some stage, he is not promising it will be in place for an upcoming show by Belgian surrealist René Magritte.

"The next exhibition will have pretty much the same problem as teamLab. It could be that we will see queues again," Kartio remarked.

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