My compelling visual memory of the blockbuster King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art is the thirty dollar Kleenex box cover on sale in the gift shop (and online, of course). You too can be the first kid on your block to have the Made in China pseudo-experience of wiping your nose on unwinding mummy linens pulled out through the Boy King's nose. Dang! If only you could extract your Kleenex with a crochet hook the way the ancient Egyptians removed Tut's brain through his nostrils!
I wanted to love the exhibit, and expected to buy tickets for my sons and their friendgirls to see it at Christmas. I really, really wanted it to be as mind-blowing for them as my trip to the 1977 "Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago was for me.
The "King Tut & the Golden Age of the Pharoahs" exhibit is spaciously arranged to allow for the movement of six hundred visitors per hour. It flows pretty well, and individuals aren't impeded by clusters of audio tour users. It has more objects overall than the late-Seventies Tut exhibit, but fewer important objects. The final room of the exhibit about autopsies performed on Tut's mummy feels like an overhyped History Channel segment where Geraldo Rivera might pop out.
This exhibit moves to San Francisco after the Dallas show. A second exhibition called "Tutankhamun the Golden King and the Great Pharaohs" just opened in Atlanta. It will move to Indianapolis in June 2009.
Perhaps I've been to one too many blockbuster Egyptian exhibits. Like the "Treasures of Tut" in 1977, these all shined far brighter than the current Dallas show:
- "Ramses II" exhibit at Dallas' Fair Park in 1989
- "Egypt's Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and His World" at Ft. Worth's Kimbell Museum in 1992
- "The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt" at the Kimbell in 2003
I'm home from work today with a head cold, but I still don't want a Tut tissue box. And, please, no Geraldo!
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder