Florida West Coast will get rare look at “Diana, A Celebration” as Florida International Museum named 2nd U.S. stop;


Fleishman-Hillard / 305-520-2000
Steven Schwadron
Cindy Castelblanco

Florida West Coast will get rare look at “Diana, A Celebration” as Florida International Museum named 2nd U.S. stop; Royal Wedding Gown, designer dresses, personal mementoes and heirlooms from Althorp Estate in England on display

ST. PETERSBURG, FL--(SEPTEMBER 21, 2004)- -Arts & Exhibitions International (AEI) today announced that “Diana, A Celebration,” the critically acclaimed exhibition chronicling the life of the late Princess Diana, and which has drawn strong interest in advance of its U.S. debut in Fort Lauderdale, will extend its Florida run with a visit to St. Petersburg's Florida International Museum. This exhibition, honoring the “people's princess,” is scheduled to open February 19, 2005 and remain on view through May 15, 2005, Museum officials said. Tickets will go on sale Friday, September 24.

The extraordinary exhibition presents the life and humanitarian work of one of the most remarkable women of her time through approximately 150 objects, ranging from her 1981 Royal Wedding Gown, 28 designer dresses and gowns, family heirlooms, personal mementoes, paintings, and rare home movies and photos. Chronicling both her public and private life, the experience allows visitors to share the milestones of her many roles: as a youngster, schoolgirl and athlete; as the shy kindergarten teacher who captured the hearts of the Prince and the public; as the young, ravishing royal bride; as an icon of fashion and style; as the devoted mother, sister and daughter; and as the tireless charity advocate and spokeswoman.

"We are thrilled to bring the exhibit to the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg . Diana had a remarkable way of developing a bond with the public and enjoyed giving her time to others, and in this spirit, the exhibit allows us to continue sharing her life with those who saw in her someone special," said Charles Spencer, Diana's brother, who is working closely with AEI. "We hope people remember Diana for the dignified way in which she carried herself throughout her life, the positive influence she had on scores of people, and the heartfelt consideration she showed for others.”

At the heart of “Diana, A Celebration” is the glorious, show-stopping Royal Wedding Gallery, featuring Diana's resplendent gown from her 1981 marriage to Prince Charles, diamond tiara, veil and 25-foot train, shoes and parasol and bridesmaid's dress, among other items. Home movies filmed by her father and scenes from her childhood, her engagement to Prince Charles and the events leading up to the Royal Wedding are remembered and animated with video, personal possessions, photographs and personal correspondence.

Other major highlights of the exhibition include: 28 dresses, suits and evening gowns designed by Versace, Valentino, Chanel, Azagury, and Lacroix, among others, and worn by the Princess during her public life, accompanied by photographs and designer details from the events where the outfits were worn; two diamond tiaras and other priceless family jewels; the original hand-edited text of the Charles Spencer's moving tribute to his sister that he delivered at Diana's funeral in Westminster Abbey; the musical score and handwritten lyrics of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition dedicated to Diana and adapted from “ Candle in the Wind”; and 17 th and 18 th century paintings from the Althorp Estate.

One entire section is devoted to Diana's energetic and multi-faceted public life and involvement in myriad charities and causes, including her pioneering efforts for those afflicted by AIDS, the care of the homeless, and the tragic consequences of the unregulated use of land mines. A three-screened video presentation highlights the hundreds of associations that continue to benefit from her patronage and energetic dedication. The outpouring of grief at her untimely death is also addressed in a display of books of condolence and a space for reflection and remembrance.

At the Florida International Museum , a spacious lobby will greet visitors as the audience is led to a specially designed and appointed 10,000-square-foot West Gallery, proportioned to accommodate this generous space with an open-grid ceiling. The West Gallery was part of the space that housed FIM's extremely successful blockbusters: Treasures of the Czars and Titanic: The Exhibition , which alone drew more than 800,000 visitors, making it one of the country's top exhibitions in recent times.

“It is a honor for FIM to host this special exhibition concerning Princess Diana's life and achievements - to see her beloved mementoes and to share her family's pride and love, in person,” said Kathy Oathout, Executive Director, Florida International Museum.

“Diana, A Celebration ,” produced by Ohio-based Arts & Exhibitions International LLC in association with the Althorp Estate, is set to make its U.S. premiere at the Museum of Art / Fort Lauderdale in October 2004 prior to its stop in St. Petersburg. Since 1998, the objects have made their permanent home at Althorp Estate in England , the Spencer family's 500-year-old ancestral estate.

In announcing the St. Petersburg engagement, John Norman, President of AEI, said: “We considered various cities and venues for a second U.S. stop before returning to Althorp for the summer and, after careful consideration, we believed that the logistics of moving up the coast of Florida combined with the beauty and splendor of the Florida International Museum and the region in general made for an excellent fit. We have had strong advance ticket sales for the Fort Lauderdale engagement and indications are that we will have strong interest in and around the Central and West Coast regions.”

Since 1998, the Exhibition at Althorp has generated approximately $2 million for charities supported by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. In St. Petersburg , 10% of the retail price of products sold at the Exhibition goes to projects supported by the same fund. For more information on the exhibit, visit www.dianacelebration.com , www.althorp.com , www.artsandexhibitions.com , or www.floridamuseum.org .


Ticket Information

Tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 813-287-8844 or 727-898-2100 or online at www.ticketmaster.com . Group ticket sales and reservations can also be arranged by calling Florida Group Tours at 800-995-6674 or 813-987-6000 or online at www.floridagrouptours.com . Reservations will be booked in 30-minute intervals; there are no restrictions on the time taken to tour the exhibition. $19.50 for adults (13-61); $15.50 for seniors (62+), students (with ID) & military personnel; $14.50 for groups of 15 or more; $9.50 for Museum members; $9 for children (7-12); $6 for school groups; and toddlers free (six and under). Audio tours are also available. The exhibit can be seen Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Fridays until 8 p.m.) and Sunday, noon – 6 p.m. Last admission is one hour prior to closing time.


About the Florida International Museum

A Smithsonian affiliate since 1999, the Florida International Museum ( 100 Second Street North, St. Petersburg ) brings the world to you through exciting, diverse national and international exhibitions, many on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Since opening in 1995, the Museum has hosted 2.3 million visitors from around the globe.