King Tut treasures to visit Seattle in 2012
Seattle is in for a bout of Tut-mania. The Pacific Science Center has announced details of a King Tut exhibit to coincide with the center's 50th anniversary in 2012.
Seattle Times science reporter
Seattle is in for a bout of Tut-mania.
The Pacific Science Center has announced details of a King Tut exhibit to coincide with the center's 50th anniversary in 2012.
The exhibit headed to Seattle is "Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs." It features 50 artifacts from the tomb of the boy king, including the golden sandals placed on his mummified feet. It also includes the largest statue of Tut and dozens of artifacts from 2,000 years of Egyptian history.
Pacific Science Center has been working for more than a year to land the prize, said board member Warren Buck, chancellor emeritus and physics professor at the University of Washington.
"I think this King Tut exhibit will be a blockbuster," he said.
The Seattle exhibit will run from May 24, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013.
Tickets will go on sale in a few months.
The exhibit is currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, and then is bound for a stint at the Denver Art Museum.
Collectively, the dual Tut shows have drawn more than 7 million visitors worldwide during their multiyear tours.
The longest-touring exhibit, "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," is headed out of the country after it leaves New York City next year, said Laura Calliari of Arts and Exhibitions International. The company organized both exhibits in cooperation with National Geographic and the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.
The second exhibit was developed to feed America's "rabid appetite" for all things Tut, Calliari said.
Proceeds from the tours will help pay for a new museum in Egypt to house the nation's vast archaeological collections.
The upcoming exhibit will be the second time a Tut exhibit has graced Seattle.
The first, in 1978, attracted 1.3 million visitors to Seattle Center. Sponsored by Seattle Art Museum, the event was such a success it spurred SAM's expansion to its current downtown location.
Buck hopes the new Tut exhibit will give a boost to Pacific Science Center, which lost money on its 2008-09 Lucy exhibit. Bad weather and the economic downturn put a damper on turnout for the 3.2 million-year-old human ancestor.
"I think a lot more people will come to the Tut exhibit than to the Lucy exhibit," Buck said.
Tutankhamun has been the subject of worldwide fascination since the 1922 discovery of his tomb, remarkably intact and full of glittering and bejeweled treasures buried for 3,000 years. Rumors of a curse only added to the allure.
The 1970s tour epitomized the word "blockbuster," with visitors standing in line up to eight hours at some locations to gaze upon Tut's solid-gold funeral mask and more than 50 other items from his tomb.
But an artifact was damaged during the tour. The Egyptian government enacted laws to keep Tut's riches at home for nearly 30 years.
Neither the funeral mask nor Tut's sarcophagus are allowed to leave Egypt now.
The new exhibits include a few of the artifacts that toured in the 1970s, but most of the items have never been seen before in the United States.
Scientists continue to probe Tut's mummified remains for insights to his life and death. In February, a new analysis concluded that the 19-year-old pharaoh most likely perished around 1324 B.C. of malaria, aggravated by a degenerative bone disease.
Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or email@example.com
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