For the first time since 1963, a collection of King Tut’s treasures is coming to Boston.
“King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh,” a new immersive exhibit, is scheduled to open June 13 at the Saunders Castle at Park Plaza.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the upcoming exhibition on Tuesday morning at City Hall Plaza. A gold and black statue of an Egyptian tomb guardian towered over Walsh and students from Mario Umana Academy, the Eliot School, and Weymouth’s Abigail Adams Middle School who were on hand for the announcement.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and entertainment company IMG have produced the show in collaboration with The Museum of Science, the show’s official partner in Boston.
“This exhibit is one of the most interesting and exciting in the world, and I’m proud that Boston will be the only Northeast city to host this collection,” Walsh said in an email statement. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people from all across the region to see history first-hand, and we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the country to experience the King Tut collection.”
In total, the exhibition is slated to travel to 10 cities around the world. In Paris, the show drew 1.4 million visitors to the Grande Halle de la Villette from March 23 to Sept. 22, 2019, according to IMG. The show is now in London at the Saatchi Gallery through May 3. Following the Boston exhibition, no additional destinations have been announced.
The artifacts included in the show were found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb, discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb, located in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, was found almost completely intact. Carter uncovered 5,000 objects, including King Tut’s mummy. The artifacts have been kept in Cairo since then, only leaving Egypt to tour in small numbers.
The exhibition will include 150 artifacts, the largest collection ever to be displayed worldwide, with 60 traveling out of Egypt for the first time. The show will include everyday objects that Tutankhamen was entombed with as well as objects believed by the ancient Egyptians to help guide him through the afterlife.
John Norman, managing director of exhibitions at IMG, worked with an Egyptian curator to select objects for the exhibition.
“We chose objects to have on tour that would tell the story of King Tut and his journey through the afterlife,” Norman said. “We wanted an assortment of pieces that helped support our story, rather than just picking pieces for the sake of picking them. You can follow King Tut through his afterlife and see how he used these objects in the afterlife. You learn about the story, then you follow that story all the way through the end.”
A film projected on a 180-degree screen, music composed specifically for the exhibit, and lighting to complement the narrative will accompany the objects to create a multi-dimensional experience for visitors. Norman said the show will explore ancient Egyptian rituals and culture, King Tut’s life, and the discovery of his tomb.
The last time King Tutankhamen’s treasures journeyed to Boston was in 1963, but only 34 objects were presented for public viewing. Norman stressed the importance of the artifacts coming to the city almost 100 years after their discovery.
“We were very fortunate to come to Boston,” Norman said. “The fact that King Tut has not been there since the ’60s means it will be very popular.”
Following the tour, the objects will return to Egypt and join the collection of the Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open by the end of the year.
Tickets for the show are not yet available. Walsh plans to announce that Boston Public School students will have the opportunity to attend the show for free, with limited numbers of free tickets available for educators on a first-come, first-served basis.
Zach English teaches dual language history at the Mario Umana Academy in East Boston, and brought his class to the announcement of the King Tut show. English said most of the students in his class are new to the U.S. and are studying ancient Egypt in his class.
“It’s great for them to have an opportunity for them to do something through the school because they might not have an opportunity to do that on their own," English said. "We try to get them out to experience cultural events like this.”