King Tut

Mask of Tutankhamun

This morning, I went to the Science Center and saw the visiting exhibit, “The Discovery of King Tut”. As its title alludes, the emphasis of this show is on the story of archeologist Howard Carter’s unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The first half of the exhibit contains a series of life-sized dioramas that show the various rooms of the tomb as they were first found by Carter in 1922. Based upon photos taken at the time, the rooms are a jumble of items that have been crammed into confined spaces. Much is made of the difficulties that Carter experienced moving around in these rooms and removing everything from them.

The second half of the show is a conventional museum exhibit, with each piece individually displayed and labeled. I should point out that nothing in this show is real. They are all reproductions, but very good ones. The use of multiple replicas allows the viewer to see an item in situ and also much better, while on display. The above pictured mask is shown by itself, but also how it was first found, as a death mask on the mummy’s body, inside the inner sarcophagus. Also, few of the items are behind glass, making them easier to photograph.

I went early and this show has been in town for some time now. So, I got what amounted to a private viewing. It was quite the contrast to my experience, forty-years-ago, at the Chicago Field museum. There they had the real Tutankhamun artifacts and a crowd to match. It was so crowded that it was difficult to move from one display to the next. I went as the guest of my then future in-laws. This morning, my private viewing was cut short, when one of the curators announced that “half of Ladue is coming!” When this middle school field trip finally caught up to me, I decided to depart, leaving no footprints in the sands of time. 

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