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Museum exhibit explores splendorsof Tut's famed tomb, Egyptian culture

by Tribune News Service | January 26, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Inside the "KING TUTANKHAMUN: 'Wonderful Things' from the Pharaoh’s Tomb" exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, on January 16, 2022. The exhibit is back by popular demand, according to the museum, and returns in time for the 100th anniversary of Tutankhamun's tomb discovery. (Annie Barker/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

DETROIT -- A century after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, its splendor graces the galleries of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Now open to visitors, the exhibit explores the personal and public aspects of the life of the famed pharaoh through more than 100 replicas of possessions found in King Tut's opulent tomb.

Tutankhamun, more commonly known as King Tut, ascended the throne when he was 9 years old following the death of his father during Egypt's 18th dynasty. However, the discovery of the boy pharaoh's tomb in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter is considered to be more significant than the king's short reign, which lasted a decade. The tomb contained thousands of sacred belongings and took nearly a decade to catalog.

The Wright museum first showcased the exhibit dedicated to the king in 2007

"We've had people consistently asking us to bring it back," said Patrina Chatman, curator of collections at the museum. "It was really by popular demand."

In the exhibit, the gold sheen of artifacts -- replicas created by artisans who practice the same craftsmanship of the originals -- shimmer under spotlights, and videos of ancient ruins are projected onto the walls. The 130 objects in the exhibit were chosen to capture the culture of ancient Egypt and life of King Tut.

"When you understand the life of an individual, when you read and learn about who they are, if their culture is similar or different from yours, you can begin to make comparisons and realize where you are similar and where you can find differences," said Yolanda Jack, manager of community engagement at the Wright museum. "That then helps to bring about an understanding that helps to bridge gaps."

The replica of Tut's coffin, fixed in the center of the gallery, was carved from foam, then cast in a layer of polyurethane and painted gold, giving visitors a sense of the grandeur of the pharaoh's luxe tomb. The original, however, was made of solid gold, the informational text reads.

Replicas of a drinking chalice that was carved out of a block of alabaster and the pharaoh's personal bed, made of gold and gilded ebony, further transport visitors into the lavish -- but short -- life of King Tut. Tut died at the age of 19, most likely from a malaria infection, historians have concluded.

Beyond the jewels and riches, Jack says she hopes the exhibit sparks people's curiosity for the world.

"Curiosity is something that we don't encourage enough," Jack said. "Why should we stop being curious after we finish formal schooling? You should continue to learn, we should continue to explore our worlds."

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If you go

The exhibit "King Tutankhamun: 'Wonderful Things' from the Pharaoh's Tomb" is now open to the public.

Tickets for adults are $15 and $12 for seniors and youth under 12 years old.

For more information, visit TheWright.org.

photo Inside the "KING TUTANKHAMUN: 'Wonderful Things' from the Pharaoh’s Tomb" exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on Jan. 16, 2022. The exhibit is back by popular demand, according to the museum, and returns in time for the 100th anniversary of Tutankhamun's tomb discovery. (Annie Barker/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
photo Inside the "KING TUTANKHAMUN: 'Wonderful Things' from the Pharaoh’s Tomb" exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on Jan. 16, 2022. The exhibit is back by popular demand, according to the museum, and returns in time for the 100th anniversary of Tutankhamun's tomb discovery. (Annie Barker/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
photo Inside the "KING TUTANKHAMUN: 'Wonderful Things' from the Pharaoh’s Tomb" exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on Jan. 16, 2022. The exhibit is back by popular demand, according to the museum, and returns in time for the 100th anniversary of Tutankhamun's tomb discovery. (Annie Barker/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

Print Headline: Museum exhibit explores splendorsof Tut's famed tomb, Egyptian culture

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