LOS ANGELES (March 1, 2005)–Groundbreaking CT scans of the celebrated pharaoh King Tut will be displayed in the National Geographic exhibition “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” scheduled to begin a four-city, 27-month tour of the United States on June 16, 2005, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Tickets for the exhibition will be on sale to the public March 3 through the end of the exhibit’s stay in Los Angeles on Nov. 15, 2005. The tour is organized by National Geographic, AEG Exhibitions and Arts and Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Tickets for the three other tour cities, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (opens December 2005); The Field Museum, Chicago (opens May 2006) and The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (opens February 2007) go on sale in the coming months.
The scans of Tutankhamun that will be featured in the exhibition were captured through the use of a portable CT scanner, donated by Siemens Medical Solutions, which allowed researchers to see through the mummy’s wrappings and for the first time, to compile a three-dimensional picture of Tutankhamun. These never-before-seen images will be on display in the final room of the exhibit, along with other dramatic images and video footage. The scanning of Tut’s mummy is part of a landmark, five-year Egyptian research and conservation project, partially funded by National Geographic, that will CT-scan the ancient mummies of Egypt.
The extensive collection of more than 130 treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun, other Valley of the Kings tombs and additional ancient Egyptian sites will draw visitors back in time with inventive design to explore and experience the world and times of King Tut and his contemporaries.
Tutankhamun was one of the last kings of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty and ruled during a crucial, turmoil-filled period of Egyptian history. The boy king died under mysterious circumstances in 1323 B.C., in the ninth year of his reign. He was probably only about 18 or 19 when he died. Some Egyptologists believe he was murdered by his successor, Ay.
The exhibition will place fifty of Tutankhamun’s burial objects found when Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922 in their historical, religious and sociopolitical context to show the changes occurring in Egypt in the late 18th Dynasty (1555 B.C. to 1305 B.C.). Key items include Tutankhamun’s royal diadem — the gold crown discovered encircling the head of the king’s mummified body that he likely wore while living — and one of the gold and precious stone inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his mummified internal organs.
The exhibition also will include more than 70 objects from tombs of other 18th Dynasty royals as well as several non-royal individuals. These stone, faience and wooden pieces from burials before Tut’s reign will give visitors a sense of what the lost burials of other royalty and commoners may have been like. All of the treasures in the exhibit are between 3,300 and 3,500 years old.
The layout, flow and scholarly conception of the show is being organized by curator David Silverman, the Eckley B. Coxe Jr. professor of Egyptology and curator-in-charge, Egyptian Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum, who also helped curate the 1970s tour.
Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and director of the Giza and Saqqara Pyramids, is writing the exhibition companion book, “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” and a children’s book, “Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King,” both to be published by National Geographic in June 2005.
LACMA co-curators Nancy Thomas and Kathlyn Cooney, both trained Egyptologists and art historians, are working as part of the curatorial team to develop the installation and review, edit and manage the material according to LACMA standards. They also are working with LACMA’s educators to create an innovative children’s activity center (“The Pharaoh’s World”) to accompany the exhibition.
Treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb were last displayed in the United States during a seven-city tour from 1976 to 1979, which included LACMA and set traveling exhibition attendance records with some eight million visitors.
“Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” group rates start at $6, and individual tickets range from $15 to $30. Exhibition hours will be seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and tickets are for a designated hour. For information on LACMA tickets, please call 1-877-TUT-TKTS or visit www.ticketmaster.com, www.KingTut.org or www.lacma.org. For more information on the exhibition, please visit www.nationalgeographic.com/tut or www.KingTut.org.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, is the premier encyclopedic visual arts museum in the western United States. Established in 1965 as an independent institution, the museum has assembled a collection of approximately 100,000 works from around the world spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. Through its far-reaching collections and extensive public programming, the museum is both a resource to and a reflection of Southern California’s many cultural communities and heritages. The museum draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and has more than 75,000 members. It is accredited through the American Association of Museums.
Museum Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday noon-8 p.m.; Friday noon-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Wednesday. Call (323) 857-6000, or visit www.lacma.org for more information. The museum offers free admission after 5 p.m. every day the museum is open and all day on the second Tuesday of each month. LACMA’s “Free after Five” program is sponsored by Target.
Location: LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Pay parking is available in the lots at Wilshire Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue, and on Ogden Drive.