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King Tut Exhibit

faraokt3The King Tut Exhibit is in America till the end of September 2007. By November it will be in London. It is a road show that travels the world.

I saw it on August 18th 2007. While it is not cheap and you do not understand much of what you are looking at, it is still worth it. It is not every day that you get to see the lost treasure of a king from 3,000 years ago.

If you are thinking of going, then:

  • Get the Rough Guide to King Tut and read as much of it as you can beforehand. I wish I had done that!
  • Get the audio guide: it will save you a good deal of reading when you are there.
  • Try not to bring children.

You do not see King Tutankhamen’s body. That is back in Egypt. So is his death mask: that thing made of gold and something blue that has his face, the thing you probably think of first when you think of King Tut.

What you do see are some of the treasures that were found in the rooms of his grave – along with those of some of his relations. You can see what he had in this life and what he needed for the afterlife.

All of it very 18th Dynasty, which means you do not always understand what you are looking at. Which means trying to read what it is while the people behind you are trying to push you along.

The main trouble is that you do not understand the religion. You are like a Buddhist in the Vatican. You do not know their gods or how it is one got into the afterlife.

Try not to bring children: my boys are 10 and 12 and were bored. It requires too much university-level reading. It took them less than an hour to go through it, it took me two.

What the show needs are guides who will walk you through and tell you what each object is and answer questions. But that would mean paying guides (and good ones cannot be cheap) and letting fewer people through. So perhaps the show would not make money that way.

But there are three cheaper ways to make the show better:

  1. Have a short film at the beginning which tells you the most important things you need to know to understand the treasures. A bit on history and a bit on religion. Make it clear how ancient and rare these things are. The History Channel makes us think these things are all over the place in Egypt.
  2. Have the audio guide talk about more objects.
  3. Make the reading easier. I would offer three levels: one written by experts (what they have now), one written by USA Today and one written by a latter-day A. A. Milne. We would all read the Milne, of course, but that is fine. Think of it: we could read it to our children too. It would be like walking through a storybook.

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