Visited the King Tut Museum at the De Young today, thanks to the generosity of my friend Jennifer. What did I think?
Firstly, appropriate caveats: I’m not much of a museum person and I had sleeping Soleil on my shoulder the whole time we were there…
I saw King Tut in the 1970’s in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum and at that time it included the iconic Death mask and the mummified corpse and sarcophagus. Apparently those items are no longer allowed to leave Egypt so the current exhibit features a photograph of it. For that reason, combined with the fact that there are many items relating to Tut’s family, including family lineage posters in at least two places, overall I left with more of a sense of Tut’s family, including the controversial topic of his parentage, than of Tutankhamen, the person/Boy King.
I did learn many things I didn’t previously know about Akhenaten, Kiya, Nefertiti and Anknesenpaaten (possibly Tut’s half-sister) and the family history, including details about the name and religious changes, which took place during three generations.
I also left with unanswered questions and curiosity --which must be one of the marks of a good exhibit-- but being one for introspection, I would have appreciated at least of hint of the irony related to variations on grave-robbing, though I don’t suppose most museums would ever go there…
Modern technology added interesting new information including that provided by CT scanners (illuminating elements leading to his death), digitalized photos and a dramatic film introduction that some may find a bit Disneyland, though personally I liked the drama it created.
All caveats aside, it’s pretty cool to see such ancient and dramatic items preserved so perfectly!