Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tourist Alert NYC: King Tut Exhibit Ain't What You Probably Think It Is, for $27.50 a Ticket



The famed King Tut's tomb relics got a lot of exposure when they toured the world in 1972 through 1979 in an acclaimed museum exhibit called Treasures of Tutankhamun. More than 8 million visitors saw it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City alone from 1976 through 1979.

Heads-up for tourists coming to New York this holiday season. The King Tut exhibit that's now on display in Times Square (there's a clue for you right there) is a commercial show, heavy on reproductions and glitz and light on actual Tut artifacts, that's not at all what the museum exhibit was.

In fact, despite credulous media reviews, the show is generating some blow-back from disappointed people who pay $27.50 expecting to see a spectacular array of treasures from Tut's tomb, which was discovered in 1922.

As one unhappy visitor put it on Fodor's.com: "This exhibit is completely different from the original back in the 1970s. That one was magnificient, this one is made up of a bunch of essentially cast-offs and minor artifacts, few having anything to do with Tut. I was wondering if it was anything like the original. I saw it at the Met back then. It really was magnificent."

The exhibit has also generated a lot of publicity recently on Stephen Colbert's Colbert Nation show, in a joke segment called "Mysteries of the Unknown: Pursuit of the Pharaoh's Phallus," that's based on reports that Tut's penis disappeared from his mummified remains in recent years. Colbert visits the exhibit and interviews its director in a straight-faced manner that's very funny. That segment also makes it clear that the exhibit is commercial and the "mummy" on display is a replica. (The mummy was never a part of the museum exhibit.)

Anyway, as I said, heads-up. You may want to visit the show in New York, but you probably would like to know first actually what you'll be paying that $27.50 to see.

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1 comment:

The Contrarian said...

Joe, I took my seven year-old son, a budding Egyptologist, to see the exhibit on Father's Day, because Dads were admitted free when accompanied by a paid ticketholder. So the deal of the day made the cost bearable.

I think we were both impressed with the cool items for sale in the gift shop than the actual exhibit.