The president of the exhibition company recently sued by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science expressed surprise at the legal action, saying it could have been easily avoided.
“We’re not looking for a fight with the museum,” said Marcus Corwin, president of Florida-based American Exhibitions. “This is so unnecessary. All they had to do was pick up a phone and say, ‘Let’s talk about it.’”
The Perot Museum’s lawsuit followed a breakdown of eight months of negotiation between museum officials and American Exhibitions to bring the popular traveling exhibit “Mummies of the World” to Dallas.
Perot officials contend in the lawsuit that after negotiations broke down, American Exhibitions sent a letter threatening to sue the museum for breaking a promise to host the show. The museum officials sued late last month as a pre-emptory strike, asking a judge to declare that no contract between the parties was ever executed.
Corwin denied that the letter contained any explicit threat to sue.
“We’re disappointed that there is litigation on this matter,” he said. “This is unusual. We’re never been sued by a science center before.”
Perot Museum officials declined to comment Wednesday, citing the pending lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the exhibitor first approached them a year ago about hosting the exhibit, which claims to contain the largest collection of human mummies ever assembled. The show, which contains mummies from Europe, Asia and South America, has been viewed by more than a million visitors across the country.
Corwin said that in the negotiations that began a few months later, Perot officials agreed to bring the show to the museum’s temporary exhibit space in April 2016.
“We agreed on the date. We agreed on ticket prices. We agreed on the licensing terms,” he said. “Then all off a sudden, the museum decided they weren’t going to do it.”
He said the turnabout followed a visit by museum officials in May to the Buffalo Museum of Science, where “Mummies of the World” is on display.
When museum officials returned, they notified the exhibitor that they were no longer interested in hosting the exhibit. Corwin said they offered no specifics. “There were certain concerns about the style of the exhibit, but they did not discuss what they were,” he said.
His company would have addressed those concerns, he said, but museum officials declined to discuss the matter further.
Corwin said that decision means his company may not be able find an alternative host during the time block that it was holding open for Dallas, a situation that he contends could mean the loss of millions of dollars.
The current show in the Perot Museum’s temporary exhibit space features “World’s Largest Dinosaurs.” The museum has not announced the next exhibit.