In Arts + Entertainment

Catch King Tut During A Seven Year World Tour

Originally published: June 1, 2018

Updated: January 30, 2019

It was British archaeologist Howard Carter who found Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. A small cup inscribed with the king’s name had been discovered in 1905 and Carter was convinced the mummy lay nearby.

After seasons of searching, he was given one last chance to find it. And on November 1, 1922, he stepped onto a sunken staircase that led to the sealed tomb. Inside was King Tut. Along with over 5,000 burial objects.

To this day, it remains the largest and most intact royal tomb ever uncovered in Egypt.

To celebrate the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the finding, the largest-ever King Tut exhibition KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will tour the world for seven years in 10 international cities.

First stop: the California Science Center. It opened there in March and will stay for nine months before hitting the road. The exhibit will take over the Australian Museum in Sydney in 2021 for six months. Arts Minister Don Harwin has called it a “game changer” for Sydney and Australia.

Previously, only 50 objects from the tomb had been allowed to leave Egypt. The new exhibition features more than 150.

“People gasp when they see the quality of these well-preserved treasures,” says Dr. Diane Perlov, Senior Vice President for Exhibits.

“Our guests are impressed with the quality and quantity of the objects that lay buried for 3300 years. You’ll see innovations that scholars didn’t think were invented this long ago. There are hinges on some of the chests and nails that look modern. Included is the oldest glove on Earth, and the oldest trumpet.

“All of these artefacts… they don’t look like they’re that old. And they don’t look like they’re made by a civilisation that had no modern tools.”

The exhibition is also different to previous in that it tells the story of King Tut’s journey through the Underworld to reach the Afterlife. It does this through its set design. Visitors walk through arches that signify the different gates of the Underworld. Projections show sayings from the Book of the Dead.

“Through the exhibit, you learn the role of these artefacts in assisting the King in his journey through the Underworld and once he reaches the Afterlife,” says Dr. Perlov.

Also unique is the focus on Carter. Visitors learn his story and how it was because of him that King Tut became who he is today. He was a minor pharaoh and only became famous because of the treasures found in his tomb. Every other tomb found had been looted, usually within 100 years of the burial.

King Tut’s successor had destroyed his temple and erased his name from history. Workers huts for the tomb of another royal Ramesses VI had been built over King Tut’s. It took Carter’s determination to find it, something that’s made clear throughout the exhibition.

Perlov suggests watching the IMAX screening of Mysteries of Egypt also at the museum before heading into it.

“It’s a wonderful companion film in which you go to Giza to see the pyramids, you go to the Valley of the Kings to see the tombs, you go inside King Tut’s tomb. It really gives you a feel for the context of the exhibition you’re about to see.”

The exhibition is spread across two floors and should take about 90 minutes to two hours to walk through. Purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended on weekends. It’s on at the Science Center through January 6, 2019.

Published 01 June, 2018