Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Museum of Idaho prepares for King Tut opening June 15

Tutankhamen is perhaps Egypt's best known pharaoh because of the wealth of treasures -- including a solid gold death mask -- found during the surprise discovery of his intact tomb in 1922.
It's been almost 90 years since archaeologist Howard Carter opened the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen. On June 15 visitors to the Museum of Idaho will have their chance to find out why story of the boy king continues to fascinate more than 3,000 years after his death.

"King Tut: Treasures of the Tomb" will remain in Idaho Falls through Nov. 24. Unlike the exhibition that came to the Smithsonian in 1977, this exhibit features none of the actual priceless artifacts from the tomb. But the artisans of the Pharaonic Village in Giza, Egypt, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have devoted exquisite care in the reproduction of the legendary treasures from the richest archaeological find of all time.

With an expansive scope of over 131 artifact replicas, this showcase of King Tut’s treasures is larger and more complete than any previous exhibition of the originals (which only included approximately 55 artifacts). Displayed in open glass cases, the exhibition includes replicas of the pharaoh’s sacred
and personal possessions along with associated artifacts from the period surrounding Tutankhamen’s reign.

“The objects are all cast to look like the real thing . . . with the flaws and all,” said Marty Martin, curator from The Origins Museum Institute, where the exhibit originally was put together. “People can really experience them [the pieces] and they can actually breathe and live within the exhibit. While the experience of seeing the original artifacts is unsurpassable, there are enormous benefits to viewing these reproductions. The sheer number of replicas far exceeds the number of original objects which were allowed to leave the Egyptian Museum for view abroad.”

While earlier exhibitions have displayed the artifacts according to how they were removed from the tomb, this exhibit groups the artifacts into five different categories, each according to a different aspect of the pharaoh’s life: an Introductory Hall, the Hall of the Discovery, the Private Pharaoh, the Public Pharaoh, and the Sacred Burial.

The exhibit also features an authentic 18th Dynasty sandstone stela, bearing a superb relief of Akhenaten, and three genuine 26th Dynasty funerary necklaces.
For more information about the exhibit and the Museum of Idaho, visit this link: http://www.museumofidaho.org/

And for those of you who can't hear the name King Tut without thinking of the Steve Martin novelty hit of 1977, here it is, albeit a bluegrass version from 2010.