While on holiday visiting my family in Los Angeles, I saw the iconic image of King Tut on banners all over the city. I've been living under a rock and didn't know that there was a new multi-city exhibition - the long-dead pharaoh's last time traveling before his final rest at the new Grand Egyptian Museum.
Two years ago we had taken my now 5 year old to a mummy exhibit at the LA County Natural History Museum. She loved it so much (still talks about it!) that we decided King Tut was right up her alley. And boy was it.
On display at the California Science Center until January 2019 before heading to Europe, King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh features 150 artifacts from the Boy King's tomb - 60 of which have never traveled outside of Egypt before.
Multimedia displays gave the exhibit an ultra-modern touch. When you first enter, you watch a roughly 5-minute video on a curved screen (it looks like the images are melting into the building, it's really neat) giving backstory about Tutankhamen and Howard Carter. It had high production value and looked like one of the History Channel's non-alien related docu-shows.
The exhibit was split onto two levels. On the top floor you were immersed in the pharaoh's treasures and information on ancient Egyptian burial practices. The bottom floor was dedicated to the finding of the untouched tomb, new findings about Tut's death and lineage (spoiler: blow to the head), and how Tut has impacted popular culture since he was rediscovered.
I thought it was interesting how the exhibit as a whole really accentuated this idea of Tut and Carter as linked across time. King Tut was virtually erased from history due to the political turmoil of his time, and Carter was about to lose his funding from Lord Carnarvon (Downton Abbey fans! This was one of the owners of Highclere Castle, the house used in filming. Highly recommend you read Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey as they go into detail about his involvement in the find). The exhibit used this theme of the underdog to great effect.
My favorite objects on display were the sentinel that guarded his tomb, the wishing cup, a calcite head stopper (these sat atop the jars in the canopic chest which housed Tut's organs), and a massive broken statue of the king.
At the airport on our way home, my 5-year-old saw a magazine with Tut on the cover and announced to the store, "There's the history." People chuckled kind of confused and then she said, "It's King Toot-ank-ommon," to which the store erupted in laughter. What can I say, my kid is amazing.
Know before you go: Tut's mummy and the famous death mask are not on display. They are forever in Egypt at this point. I had no idea, but the Space Shuttle Endeavor is on display and your ticket to Tut gets you in to see it. Endeavor is absolutely massive and breathtaking. It kind of made me teary. Don't forget to see it.
The tickets to this exhibit are funding the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum which will house Tut and the country's other major antiquities. For up to date info on the exhibit's travel schedule: https://kingtutexhibition.com/en/exhibit-information/