Sunday, November 13, 2011

The magnificence of King Tut

Thursday by happenstance I ended in to Melbourne to visit the King Tut exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.

The exhibition was, quite simply, magnificent. 

It focuses on a small slice of Egyptian history, the period around the short rule of the  Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Tutankhamun was born around 1341BC, dying in 1323.

The 1922 discovery of his tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter attracted global headlines because of the richness of the material remains.

The sheer wealth of the material remains and the glamour of the discovery are well presented in the exhibition. However, the exhibition is far more than that. It actually brings alive that small slice of Egyptian history in a way that very few museums manage. This is not just the material remains themselves gorgeous though these may be, but an actual narrative that places those remains in a context of the time.

I was completely astonished at the depth of information available. This wasn't limited just to the artifacts, but extended to family trees, politics and international relations as well as the detail of daily life.

I do not know who designed the exhibition, but whoever they were I would give a score of 100 out of ten. It was just that good.

As Denise and I stood in the line waiting to enter, both of us had our doubts. We inched forward in batches, all tightly controlled. There were marshals everywhere. I started counting up the cost!

That control was absolutely critical. With these big mega exhibitions, you can find yourself fighting to view things within a maddening throng. Here, once inside, there was a biggish crowd. However, there was also space to move, no feeling of claustrophobia, no feeling that you had to rush on because you were holding others up.

Again, I congratulate those who designed the individual exhibit stands. It wasn't just that the descriptions were clear. They were repeated multiple times at different levels and at front and side. This allowed people with different eye sights to see without clustering just at the front and bending over. It also allowed people to see the sides and backs of particular artifacts.

I was going to try my hand at an another piece of history, at a description of some of the things we learned. However, I really do think that I should limit myself here to just what I have said.

The exhibition closes shortly. If you can go, please do. You will never have another chance like this.  


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you very much enjoyed your visit!

I read somewhere that none of the Pharaohs displayed 'war wounds' so am thinking that first image is a bit of political glorification? Which does not detract one iota from the story.


Jim Belshaw said...

I did indeed enjoy my visit, kvd. On war wounds, I am sure that you are right.