I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition last week and enjoyed it immensely. I purposely chose a weekday afternoon (the joy of flexible working hours) so it would be quieter. I was there for three hours and would have stayed longer except I was exhausted from taking in so many impressions and so much information. I may go again before the exhibition ends, and this time focus on the sections of the exhibition close to the end of the ‘tour’, when I started to lose concentration.
The exhibition started in a room full of general information (written, videos, and via audio device. Audio devices were available in about four languages as well as a children’s version) about Egypt during those times, a small copy of the Rosetta stone and explanation of hieroglyphics, a model of the excavation and some information about the excavations, and the lives of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. After that there was a film (about 15 minutes?) about Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon’s work, ending at the point where they opened the first room of the tomb.
As an aside, there were about 30 other people in the audience for the film, and when Lord Carnavon’s family seat was shown, everyone went ‘Downton Abbey!’. Lord Carnavon’s family seat was, in fact, Highclere castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed. In fact, there is even a Tutankhamun museum in the cellar. Theydidn’t mention that at all in the exhibition obviously, but it was interesting that everyone recognised the building as ‘Downton Abbey’.
After that, there were three video and audio displays of the two storage rooms in the tomb. At the same time could look at an actual reconstruction of the rooms and see exactly how the rooms looked when they were opened.
Then came all the items from the tomb, individually displayed so that you could read all about them. There were additional sections with information about the mummification process and Tutankhamum’s physical health at the time of his death.
My favourite parts were the two huge gilded shrines (the hieroglyphics on them were absolutely beautiful) and the calcite canoptic chest holding Tutankhamun’s internal organs.
I liked the fact that it was not crowded so you could really see everything, and take your time. You can see in the photos below that I could take most of them without people in the frame. Every item was in perfect, pristine condition – something that is not always the case in travelling exhibitions like this one. People here (which is typical of Swedes I have to say) were very good about not touching, keeping their voices very low, and being respectful towards others and towards the display items. There was not a huge staff presence either, which meant you felt trusted.
At the end of the exhibition there was a small shop, where you could buy all kinds of things (statues, jewellery, pens, bags, charms, bookmarks, books, posters, games). I bought a souvenir catalogue which I perused as soon as I got home.