Well ,King Tut is in town so we decided to pay him a visit; feels like he’s an old family friend. And when I say we I refer to 75% of my family. We have lived in Egypt, and seen an awful lot of artifacts. My mother in fact bought a replica of the death mask of King Tut at one point, so I grew up seeing him there on the top of the shelves. According to family lore it wasn’t that hard to bring home, she had it as a carry-on and it was a reasonable size* but they had to break of that chin piece to make him fit in the overhead compartment. It got glued back on “en situ” so no worries.
Point is we are a tough crowd to impress, and we left happy enough.
So let me adress the elephant in the room; to what degree are these things in fact originals? It says so on a lot of signs that they are but security seems to consist mainly of a sign saying “please don’t touch”. And we felt that it wasn’t really relevant: it’s a good show they put on. The aim is to recreate the story of how Carter(with financial backing by Lord Carnavon) found the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen, and in that they succeed.
In the lobby their is a copy of the Rosetta stone, the original being found at the British museum. The story behind it, and how it became the key to understanding hieroglyphs is fascinating. I read a book about it, how frenchman Champollion cracked the code, but the short story is that the same text, in three different languages, is engraved on the stone and one of those languages is ancient greek. But I digress..
Then there is a short film with some backstory (Carters life is like a Hollywood movie to be honest) and a guided section that tells the story of how they found the tomb and what they encountered when they opened the seal. It’s well done with audioguides and all. The rest of the exhibit is essentially the items they found, spread out, catalogued and created into sections. Good information in the audioguide with a bit of dramatic music for flair. I may sound like I’m making fun of it but I’m not; we were entertained and had we not known anything before we probably would have left informed. I do miss a discussion about who has the rights to the finds, and a summary of discussions about opening graves in general, and how archeology is conducted nowadays but this is not a state museum putting on the exhibit but a private entrepreneur so they don’t have that obligation. A nice complement to this would be a visit to the Mediterranean museum here in Stockholm that also has a substantial collection of Egyptian artifact but none as famous as King Tut.
In short: all very nicely done, and good for children. Sadly the venue is in the middle of nowhere, but they’ve made sure the on-site café is really nice.
Sidetone; I should have worn my skirt with a Nefertiti-print for total Egyptian feels but it was too cold and windy. I did however wear it that time when I saw the bust of Nefertiti in Berlin. Which was cool, people did a double take and all. Given the chance I totally dress to match the exhibit.
Things referenced in this post;
*as opposed to the almost life size ceramic cheetah she once brought home from Italy which needed an extra seat my mother refused to pay for.