King Tut in NYC: New York has had a fascination with the treasures of King Tut since archaeologist Howard Carter unearthed them nearly a century ago. Visitors to Premier Exhibitions 5th Avenue can walk in Carter’s footsteps in the remarkable recreation The Discovery of King Tut, which opened in midtown Manhattan on November 21, 2015.
When you arrive, ask for an audio guide, as the exhibition is an integration of both sight and sound. An introductory video brings the story to life, as you hear about Howard Carter’s obsessive search for an elusive Pharaoh. After years of scouring the desert in the Valley of the Kings, Carter’s patron ran out of patience and was about to pull funding. Carter prevailed on one last push, and in the final unsearched corner, on November 26, 1922, the original seal was breached for the first time in 3,000 years.
Most Egyptian tombs had been looted. King Tut’s tomb was different, the first ever found with its seal intact. As you leave the film, you’ll move to “The Antechamber,” arranged exactly as Carter found it. A sophisticated lighting scheme helps carry the narrative, putting the focus on the various treasures, from golden chariots to statues of the king to an ivory and ebony chair that served as Tut’s throne when he was a child. From there, you’ll see other treasuries as they looked at Carter’s discovery, leading on to the burial chamber itself.
Inside the tight confines of the chamber, “shrines” nested like Russian dolls, each more gilded than the list. The inner coffin was made of solid gold and weighed nearly 250 pounds. As you move through the exhibition, you’ll have the chance to examine each of these objects in detail. There are one-thousand items on display, with explanatory text to illuminate their history and purpose. You'll also learn about the latest discoveries, including the results of an MRI on Tut's mummy, which revealed his physical condition with startling accuracy. Looking at images of his mummy and recreations of his face, you feel like you'd recognize him on the street.
The artistry and craftsmanship of the objects from Tut's tomb are almost impossible to grasp. Equally unbelievable is that they were lost to the world for three millennia. When you consider the miracle that they were ever found, on top of their survival in such pristine condition, somehow evading the grave robbers that hit the other royal burials, it seems best to view replicas rather than expose the originals to the wear and tear of travel. To that end, expert craftsmen and Egyptologists have collaborated on a loving remaking of the originals.
H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Farouk, Consul General of Egypt in New York, spoke at an introduction to the show. He remarked on Egypt’s 5,000 years of history, and how the ancient Egyptians had the world’s longest lasting civilization. He noted that all the objects in The Discovery of King Tut were handcrafted in Egypt. “So, Egyptians did this twice.”
The Discovery of King Tut is scheduled to run through May 15, 2016. Tickets are $29 for adults and $20 for children. Click here for our discount coupon. For groups and more information, visit www.TutNYC.com.