Years ago I visited Egypt. I lived with an Egyptian family for several weeks, visited many amazing places. One of my favorite spots was the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. What amazing wonders that place holds. I had enough money to get into the museum, I did not have the extra thirty pounds to bring in my camera or the thirty pounds it took to see the mummy kings. I regret that a bit, no proof of what I saw and I missed out on the kings. I didn’t realize how many were there until several years later. I did see several mummified pets, monkeys with fur, former pets of the kings. So amazing.
The sight that really got me was King Tutankhamun’s wing. There was an entire wing of the museum dedicated to his treasure. I have never seen so much gold in one place”¦ let alone all that real gold. If you have ever ridden the ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, just picture all that gold piled around the dead pirates being real. I kept thinking, this country had so much wealth at one time, or imagine if even a portion of that gold was in circulation today. WOW.
When I heard that the King Tut exhibit would be making a stop in Seattle, I was thrilled. My son would be able to see a part of the wonder that I experienced. My child would be exposed to the reason King Tut is so famous, he would experience the same speechlessness I had walking in that museum so many years ago. So I saved up to take him, this was an opportunity not to miss. In the back of my mind I wondered about the security or the precautions that museums would have to take to keep all that treasure safe. I also thought, the Minister of Antiquities was a smart man to have the treasure out and about during this recent time of unrest.
If you have see King Tutankhamen’s treasure in Cairo then you will be, or have been, disappointed with what is on display at the King Tut exhibit. Don’t get me wrong, the exhibit is beautiful. There are some great pieces: Tut’s bed, a chair, gold sandals. But the amount of gold is so minuscule that I don’t think Americans get a real sense of how much was there.
I LOVED the flow of the exhibit. You get sense of who pharaohs were, you get the awe of how massive their endeavors were. The exhibit really gave you a sense of the pharaohs! It should have had a different title, but I know the Tutankhamun name draws people. We read all the placards and looked at every artifact. Next time I want the audio tour guide, I know I missed something, but like in Cairo I only had enough money to get in, not for all the extras. Then the visitors get a video of the archaeological discovery of the tomb. Then you “enter” into Tut’s treasure. I am sure the worth of what was on display is astronomical. But I was left feeling disappointed in the treasure. There are not even pictures of what is in the Cairo museum, probably for security purposes.
I will say the IMAX movie, Secrets of the Mummies, was worth it! So much information, new findings, since I was a kid. I had been taught Tut was murdered. MRIs and examinations prove he died of mysterious causes. He did have malaria and a bone disease that affected his foot. I also found out Tutankhamen died at age 19, and had two stillborn daughters buried in his tomb with him. This king was not so much a “boy” that we use to think. They have done DNA testing on Tutankhamun. Scientists have determined which mummies were his father and mother (who were brother and sister) but they have not identified the name of his mother. Science keeps finding answers to our past.
If you get a chance to go to the King Tut exhibit before it leaves the United States, go. Make sure you get the extra things like the IMAX and audio tour guide. You will be glad you did. But do not expect to be amazed at the amount of treasure there; 99.9% must have been left behind in Cairo.