Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Price: See ticket prices
Event dates: Through April 15, 2012
Tut Exhibition Viewing Hours: Mon to Wed 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Thurs to Sat -10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sun -12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
One of the most publicized and definitely one of the most phenomenal archaeological exhibits ever to grace the city of Houston is coming to an end. Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is the incredible spectacle of more than 100 authentic archaeological treasures from King Tut’s tomb and artifacts belonging to 30 Egyptian dynasties that span 2,000 years. The artifacts have been delicately preserved from an ancient era dubbed “The Golden Years” of Egyptian rule which took place as far back as 5,000 years ago. The exhibit has been on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston since October 16, 2011 and will run until April 15, 2012.
Artifacts from King Tutankhamun’s tomb have been on tour since the early 70s and have generated remarkable interest from the public; the authentic archaeological treasures have attracted millions of visitors who willingly waited in line to see a glimpse of history. The exhibit created such hype in the 70s that comedian Steve Martin performed a song with his special band released in 1978 to pay homage to the young King Tut. While the 70s exhibit attracted nearly 8 million visitors, Martin’s song sold more than a million copies.
The first King Tut exhibit ever to be hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston was held in 1962 before the lavish Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibitions came about in the 70s. The second ambitious King Tut exhibit hosted by the MFAH, which began in October 2011, was preceded by a show in Dallas, Texas that was held in 2008. Unfortunately, the U.S. tour may be the last of its kind for the Egyptian artifacts, as they will be taken home to Egypt soon after leaving the U.S. to be permanently housed in the newly built museum in Cairo.
Visitors of the MFAH exhibit expressed great amazement, not only for the artifacts but also for the way the museum organized, labeled and presented the Egyptian treasures to its guests.
The following have been crowd favorites guaranteed to draw more visitors throughout the much talked about archaeological phenomenon.
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King Tut’s and statues of Egyptian royalty
The boy king’s amazing statue that measures 10 feet high found at the king’s high officials’ funerary temple is a sight to behold. Other phenomenal statues displayed with King Tut’s belong to famous Egyptian rulers, including that of Khafre, who built the Great Sphinx and a pyramid in Giza; the statue of the distinct Queen Hatsheput, who successfully ruled Ancient Egypt as its fifth pharaoh from the 18th dynasty; and the statue of the most celebrated Egyptian royalty, Ramesses the Great, who is hailed as the most powerful pharaoh of Egypt.
King Tut’s intricate tomb treasures
Found inside the 19 year old king’s tomb by Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922 was the golden coffinette. Ordained with intricate designs, the coffinette kept the young ruler’s mummified stomach, along with the gold sandals that adorned his feet. Other treasures found include toe and finger protective coverings that were found on his mummy.
King Tut’s bed
See the ancient bed believed to have been laid on and used by the king himself.
The mask of Psusennes I
The extraordinary gold funerary mask of the third king of Egypt belonging to the 21st Egyptian dynasty, King Psussenes I, was discovered by Pierre Montet in 1940. The mask is considered one of the greatest treasures of Tanis.
The bust of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten)
This bust is the massive and forbidding statue of the boy king’s father. Amenhotep IV was best known for putting an end to traditional religion during his reign, which was met with cold shoulders by his contemporaries.
Despite the absence of King Tut’s funerary mask and sarcophagi, which were not included in the exhibition due to the artifacts’ delicateness, the Tutankhanum exhibit has been drawing a multitude of visitors. The MFAH is anticipating at least 500,000 visitors to grace the show within the 6 month run.
For those who want to see the exhibit, tickets are being sold to the public at individual and family pack prices. It is important to note that the event is a timed-ticket exhibition where visitors choose the specific date and time of their visit. Visitors must come early because late entries for the show will not be permitted. Due to the high demand for tickets, visitors are advised to pre-register online to avoid waiting in line during the show.
Major proceeds of the exhibit will go to Egypt’s restoration and antiquities conservation projects, which includes the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.
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Rainne Mendoza Celespara is a freelance writer living in Houston. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.