Editor's note: This exhibition is organized by Arts and Exhibitions International, AEG Exhibitions and the National Geographic Society, in association with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Northern Trust is the proud cultural partner of the exhibition and American Airlines is the official airline. The Houston presentation of Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is made possible by Apache.
Under the blazing Egyptian sun, British explorer Howard Carter unlocked a window to the past, revealing secret treasures of King Tut, the boy king whose legend still enthralls today. The rare and wonderful artifacts unearthed from his tomb are making a once-in-a-lifetime appearance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for the exhibit, Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs.
The expansive 22,000-square-foot Upper Brown Pavilion of the Caroline Wiess Law Building is the site for the exhibit that showcases 122 ancient Egyptian objects, including items directly from King Tut’s tomb. Awe-inspiring and informative, the exhibit gives a glimpse into the life of Egyptian kings and queens before returning to their homeland.
Frances Marzio, MFAH exhibition curator, says every detail has been considered to make this exhibit as engaging as possible.
“We tried to create a real sense of archeology, through design, such as reconstructing the tent of Howard Carter. There’s a sense of making the discovery yourself,” Marzio says.
The audio tour for Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, is appropriately narrated by Harrison Ford, a.k.a. Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s most famous explorer. The rooms and passages exemplify the life of Egyptian kings and queens, focusing on their time at court, religious beliefs and family life.
Visitors travel first through galleries filled with impressive sculptures of powerful Egyptian rulers including Khafre, builder of the Great Sphinx and one of the pyramids at Giza, and Hatshepsut, the queen who became a pharaoh.
The exhibit is really a dual experience. After setting the stage, the exhibit turns to the truly amazing treasures of the boy king. Large black-and-white images of the archeological site give visitors an idea of the place where Carter and his team uncovered more than 2,000 objects from Tut’s tomb.
The exhibit showcases 50 exquisite items from the boy king's tomb, such as a gold and lapis lazuli necklace with a triple-scarab pectoral found within the wrappings of Tutankhamun's mummy, and gold finger and toe covers, found on the mummy. The gold covers, or stalls, were believed to protect the young king from magical dangers.
Although Tut’s actual remains are too fragile to travel with the exhibit, visitors have the opportunity to examine a replica and the CT scans of his mummy for an up-close-and-personal look at King Tut. His scan was part of a five-year Egyptian research and conservation project, partially funded by the National Geographic Society, as part of an initiative to inventory and scan all of the known mummies in Egypt.
“You feel as though you are back in time, when they were opening the tomb,” Marzio says. “The exhibit gives a really good experience.”
The significance of this exhibit shouldn’t be overlooked. It is the first time since 1962 that any King Tut objects have been in Houston, and once it leaves the Bayou City, it stops in Seattle and then the treasures return to Egypt, home once more.
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs runs October 16, 2011 to April 15, 2012 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Caroline Wiess Law Building at 1001 Bissonnet. For more information, call 713.639.7300 or visit mfah.org.
For tickets, call the King Tut Ticket Hotline at 1-888-931-4TUT (4888)
Tut Exhibition Entry Times are:
Monday-Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Opens at 9 a.m., closes at 5 p.m.)
Thursday- Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Opens at 9:30 a.m., closes at 9 p.m.)
Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Opens at 12:15 p.m., closes at 7 p.m.)