HOUSTON —Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, an acclaimed exhibition featuring more than 100 artifacts -- most of which had never been shown in the U.S. prior to this tour -- is now open,The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) announced.
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Visitors will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the spectacular treasures, which will be on display through April 15, 2012.
More than half of the items come from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. These include the golden sandals that were found on the boy king’s mummy, a gold coffinette that held his stomach, golden statues of the gods, his rings, ear ornaments and gold collar.
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The exhibition also includes a replica of King Tut’s mummy created as a direct translation of the pharaoh’s recent CT scans. Since the real mummy has never traveled and still lies in its royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, visitors who are not able to travel to Egypt can get a sense of what it looks like.
This exhibition is a landmark event for Houston, said MFAH Interim Director Gwendolyn Goffe.
“I am thrilled that the MFAH will bring these extraordinary treasures here, and that Houston is among the few cities, along with Vienna, Atlanta, Denver and Toronto, that have had the privilege of hosting the most important exhibition of art from ancient Egypt since the original King Tut show toured the world in the 1970s,” she said.
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The exhibition is organized by the National Geographic Society, Arts & Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. The majority of proceeds from the tour support the preservation and conservation of antiquities and monuments in Egypt, including construction of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.
About the Exhibition
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs features treasures associated with the most important rulers of the 30 dynasties that ruled Egypt over a 2,000-year span. The exhibition explores the splendor of the pharaohs, their function in both the earthly and divine worlds and what kingship meant to the Egyptian people. Visitors will encounter master sculptures of powerful Egyptian rulers, including Khafre, builder of the Great Sphinx and one of the pyramids at Giza; Hatshepsut, the queen who became a pharaoh; statues of the warrior pharaohs, Tutmosis and Ramesses the Great; as well as King Tut’s father Akhenaten, the pharaoh who changed Egypt’s religion to the worship of one omnipotent sun god. The magnificent golden death mask of Psusennes I will also be on display. The spectacular exhibition also showcases the largest likeness of King Tut ever discovered – a 10-foot statue of the pharaoh found at the remains of a funerary temple.
The exhibition was curated by Dr. David Silverman, the noted Egyptologist from the University of Pennsylvania, who also served as a curator during the 1970s Tutankhamun tour. Silverman describes the exhibition: "There’s mystery. There’s excitement. It’s exotic and foreign, but it’s recognizable. To promote understanding and put these artworks in context, the exhibition reflects environments that help convey the story of the artifacts, such as the Great Pyramids at Giza and the four rooms of King Tut’s tomb."
Tutankhamun will be on view in the 22,000-square-foot Upper Brown Pavilion of the Caroline Wiess Law Building at the MFAH. Its introduction features a National Geographic documentary narrated by award-winning actor Harrison Ford. The final galleries are dedicated to King Tut’s tomb, including an area devoted to its discovery by British explorer Howard Carter in 1922. There, visitors will encounter legendary treasures from the tomb’s antechamber, annex, treasury and burial chamber in corresponding galleries.
"Houston has a history of embracing exhibits surrounding ancient Egypt. This is the first time since 1962 that treasures from the tomb of King Tut have visited Houston," said John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International.
The MFAH will be open seven days a week to accommodate visitors to the exhibition. Admission to Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs will require a timed-entry ticket that also includes general admission to the museum. General admission for MFAH members will be $23 for adults and $15 for children 6-18, $22 for students with student ID and for senior adults (65+). General admission for non-MFAH members, Mondays through Fridays, will be $25 for adults and $16 for children 6-18, $23 for students with student ID and for senior adults (65+). Non-member general admission Saturdays and Sundays will be $33 for adults, $18 for children 6-18, $29 for students with student ID and for senior adults (65+). Family Four Packs are available for members for $70 and for non-members starting at $75.
A Family Four Pack is for two adults and two children. Admission is free for children five and under.
When purchasing tickets, guests will be asked to choose a date and time they would like to see the exhibition. On Mondays, the entire Caroline Wiess Law Building, Millennium Gallery, Lower Corridor/Tunnel, and Café Express will be open. Those guests who purchase tickets for Mondays will be issued vouchers to return and visit other museum galleries on another day.
Tickets are available for purchase at the MFAH Box Office, online at www.kingtut.org or by calling 1-888-931-4TUT (4888).
Programs for Adults and Families
The MFAH will host a broad array of programs for adults throughout the run of the exhibition, including gallery talks and an engaging series of lectures presented by the world’s leading scholars of Egyptian art and archaeology that will explore why King Tut matters in the 21st century. Additional programming will feature family-friendly activities to engage museum visitors of all ages, including art-making projects, interactive gallery experiences and storytime tours.
Programs for Educators and Students
Professional development opportunities at the MFAH introduce new ways for teachers to connect works of art to their curricula. Teacher programs are open to K-12 classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, administrators, principals and librarians, and feature lively talks, interactive workshops, tours and curriculum materials. All participants receive a certificate of participation. Teachers will have the opportunity to bring their classes to the exhibition and broaden their students’ understanding of the age of King Tutankhamun. Group rates are available for school groups.
For more information about King Tut programming, please visit www.mfah.org/tut/calendar.
About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers nearly 63,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. Featured are the finest artistic examples of the major civilizations of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa. Italian Renaissance paintings, French Impressionist works, photographs, American and European decorative arts, African and Pre-Columbian gold, American art, and European and American paintings and sculpture from post-1945 are particularly strong holdings. Recent additions to the collections include Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of a Young Woman (1633), the Heiting Collection of Photography, a major suite of Gerhard Richter paintings, an array of important works by Jasper Johns, a rare, second-century Hellenistic bronze Head of Poseidon/Antigonos Doson, major canvases by 19th-century painters Gustave Courbet and J.M.W. Turner, Albert Bierstadt’s Indians Spear Fishing (1862), distinguished work by the leading 20th- and 21st-century artists from Latin America, and The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art.