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Stunned 100,000th visitor to Leonardo: "Is this a joke?"

Press Release Date 
Tuesday, 30 December, 2008
When Betsy Ortiz and her two sons hopped into their car Tuesday and headed for The Tech Museum of Innovation, they had no idea what awaited them. After all, it was only supposed to be a regular family outing, right. But when Ortiz stepped into the blockbuster exhibit "Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future," she - along with her two sons - was celebrated as the 100,000th visitor to the most comprehensive display of the innovative art, science and engineering works of Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries ever assembled. "Is this a joke." Betsy Ortiz of Walnut Creek asked upon learning of the distinction. And after assurances from Peter Friess, president of The Tech, that the honor was indeed serious, Ortiz was presented with a free museum membership, a book detailing Leonardo's work, a personal tour of the exhibit and a bouquet of colorful balloons by a costumed Leonardo riding a Segway. On the same day Ortiz was celebrated, the museum also reached a second landmark: the first sellout crowd since the exhibit opened Sept. 27. More than 4,000 visitors lined up to see the works that have inspired generations of scientists, artists and inventors. The world premier and only U.S. stop for Leonardo is attracting widespread attention, with visitors from all corners of the region lining up at The Tech to discover the genius of Leonardo and the renaissance engineers. The unprecedented exhibit has been extended to January 25, 2009 due to popular demand. It includes more than 100 life-size and scale working models, hands-on interactive machines, multimedia presentations and two priceless works of art. "We've reached a fabulous milestone with this groundbreaking exhibit," Friess said. "People are coming from all corners of the region to see this one-of-a-kind show that is educative, fun and exciting." For Ortiz and her sons Zack, 10, and Will, 7, the occasion marked a highpoint for their visit to The Tech. "This was really fun," Betsy Ortiz said during interviews with local media. "What a surprise. We feel really lucky!" About The Tech Museum of Innovation The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Tech - located in the Capital of Silicon Valley - is a non-profit educational resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives. Through educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc. The Tech Museum of Innovation celebrates the present and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org. Contact: Roqua Montez Senior Manager Public Relations (408) 795-6225 rmontez@thetech.org