Sept. 13: 'Star Wars' exhibit is St. Paul-bound

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2007 - 9:57 AM

The show is the latest of the headliners the Science Museum has scored, to their visitors' delight.

Even a Wookiee would know this is huge: A special Star Wars exhibit is coming to the Science Museum of Minnesota next summer.

On display will be more than 80 costumes and props from the classic science fiction movies, 20 interactive stations, a robot theater and a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon cockpit. In addition to viewing, visitors can test landspeeders or experience levitation in a hovercraft.

"The focus is really about the real-world science behind the fantasy of the science fiction," said Mike Day, senior vice president of the museum in St. Paul. "Not to mention it's the greatest collection of light sabers you'll ever see."

Called "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination," the 12,000-square-foot exhibit was produced with the blessing of Lucasfilm Ltd. The Science Museum is one of eight museums nationwide to host the special exhibition.

It opens June 13 and tickets go on sale to the general public in April.

The Star Wars exhibit is the latest in a run of big-name attractions for the Science Museum. "A Day in Pompeii" has drawn 5 percent more visitors since it opened in June than the projected 134,604. It continues until Jan. 6, 2008.

In the summer of 2006, Gunther von Hagens' controversial but very popular "Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies" opened at the Science Museum. Projected attendance for the original run was 400,000. But three weeks before the exhibit was to end, 433,235 people already had visited. Museum officials extended the run three months, attracting 750,000 visitors for the entire run.

Though Star Wars has a shorter run than the other exhibits, museum leaders are counting on its popularity across different age groups to draw an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 visitors.

"We anticipate whole families will come to this, from little kids with their parents to grandparents," said Gail Vold Greco, a museum spokeswoman.

Day said Star Wars attracted crowds in other cities where it was shown, sometimes drawing repeat visitors. St. Paul is the last stop on the exhibition tour before it goes overseas.

Though tickets won't go on sale until spring, the Science Museum has created a priority ticket club through its website. Visitors to the site can sign up immediately to get more information about the exhibit and to buy tickets exclusively in March, one month before they go on sale to the general public.

Highlights of the Star Wars display include:

• Princess Leia's famous white dress

• A full-sized R2-D2

• Luke Skywalker's landspeeder from Episode IV

• Engineering labs where visitors can build and test landspeeders and create robots. "There is really a lot to learn here in terms of transportation and physics and robotics," Day said. "We all know that Star Wars is a great vehicle for engagement. But for us, we're not fulfilling our mission unless we're giving you the [science] content."

In addition to the main exhibit, there are plans to have a Star Wars related component at the museum's Omnitheater next summer; museum officials still are working on that part.

May the force be with them.


    When: June 13 through Aug. 24, 2008

    Cost: $17 for adults; $14.50 for children and seniors.

    Ticket info: Tickets go on sale in April. You can sign up to join a priority club and buy tickets in March through the museum website,

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