Trip Report: King Tut Exhibition

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to inspect cruise ships and the King Tut Exhibit. Today we take a look at her account of the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

King Tut Exhibit: By Wailana

Last month, Willamette Intl Travel featured a piece on the King Tut Exhibit on our blog. So having spent the better part of a day conducting research on it, I was excited to finally see the grand treasury for myself. That morning of July 14 was considerably foggy, so after first arming myself with some northwest coffee and buttered bagel, I then climbed up to the Seattle Center. Around 9.30 I collected my tickets from a kiosk and entered through the back entrance of the Pacific Science Center (entrance was closed for some unknown reason).

The purchase of my ticket had some notable perks that might interest the would-be Seatown Tourist. These are available with all ticket types, including students. Perks include:

–          $5 off for a combo package of Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit and Space Needle

–          $3 off on the Space Needle

–          Exclusive discounts at participating Pharaoh’s Gold locations throughout Puget Sound

–          Access to the rest of the Pacific Science Center and its other exhibits

Winding through the lake-top maze of the museum took me to the Tut lines. Guests can purchase audio tours before or at the door. Due to the large volume of crowds, entry is divided every fifteen minutes—time is chosen with your advanced purchase—but you can stay as long as you want inside the exhibit. I was there for about 1h15. I recommend that you come a bit earlier—it was really crowded by 10.30! If you purchase a hotel package with Willamette Intl Travel, your ticket will gain you VIP access—this means you can skip the line!

After a brief wait, my group flooded a dark room and watched a quick introductory film narrated by Harrison Ford and accompanied by dramatic orchestra. It was all very theatrical and designed to galvanize us with anticipation. The exhibit itself was chilled, dimly lit, with lights carefully focused as golden spotlights on each treasure and Egyptianesque music. Each room had a theme—pharaohs, spouses and children, viziers and other important whatnots, deities, and the tomb of King Tut itself.

Treasures included notable jewelry, statues, domestic items (vases, etc), but no papyri. Three of the most interesting pieces were the collection of mustachioed scribes, the straw bed of the young pharaoh (amazingly almost fully intact!) and the tiny sarcophagus that held two fetuses, alleged daughters of King Tut. They also showed photographs from the 1922 excavation of the tomb, and how it appeared before any disturbance by the archaeologist Howard Carter.

Unfortunately there was no mummy, so my morbid fascination was not appeased. They did have an artist’s very lifelike, very impressive, replica. Tutankhamen’s body was shown with pictures of Akhenaten’s (his supposed father), and the differences between preservation were remarkable. It’s understandable—and forgivable—then why Tut’s mummy is one of the only few that has never been removed from the dry desert of Egypt.

I was fortunate to see this exhibit more than twenty years ago in Egypt. I descended into Tut’s original tomb chambers in the Valley of the Kings—though encased in its golden sarcophagus, his mummy was still there!

The exhibition makes its final stop on its multi-decade worldwide tour in Seattle. In January 2013, the exhibit will return to the hands of the finest curators in Egypt. So this is the last chance for Americans to view the ancient treasures in their own northwest backyard!

Check out my photos of Seattle and the exhibit here.

You can arrange VIP exhibit & hotel packages with Willamette Intl Travel! Call us for more info or email Wailana at wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Egypt, The Pacific Northwest, USA, Washington, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

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