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SC State Museum Exhibit Recalling King Tut's Treasures Returns
6/5/2013 11:21:45 AM

The fabulous funerary mask of King Tut is only one of 124 stunning replicas of the original treasures of Egypt’s “boy king” to be found in the South Carolina State Museum’s new blockbuster exhibit Tutankhamun: Return of the King. The exhibit opens June 22 at the museum in Columbia. Harry Burton photographs courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Columbia, S.C. --- The fabulous treasures of King Tut’s tomb will be highlighted by an exhibit of epic proportions when the South Carolina State Museum celebrates its upcoming 25th anniversary by bringing back to the Palmetto State its most successful blockbuster exhibit. 

Opening June 22, Tutankhamun: Return of the King will dazzle museum guests with 124 stunning replicas of King Tut’s original treasures. Discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter, the opening of King Tut’s tomb was the greatest archaeological find of all time. 

“Ten years ago, this exhibit of these exquisite objects became the biggest, most popular exhibit in our history, drawing more than 120,000 people,” said Curator of History JoAnn Zeise. “It is fitting that on the occasion of our 25th anniversary, we celebrate with the return of this hugely popular show to be enjoyed by the people who loved it the first time, and by those who weren’t here or didn’t have a chance to see it back then.”

Among the splendid objects that have been recreated for this exhibit are Tut’s magnificent chariot, golden shrines, beds, thrones, jewelry, mummy case and royal mummy. 

Also to be seen is perhaps the most instantly recognizable symbol of the young pharaoh, King Tut’s spectacular funerary mask. 

The exhibit also will tell the story of the “boy king’s” short reign and the conditions of political intrigue and societal upheaval that were prevalent during his rule. 

“King Tut lived in a time when there was great social, political and religious upheaval in Egypt,” said Zeise. “His father, Akhenaton, had spearheaded a movement to change Egypt’s religion from polytheism, the worship of many gods, to monotheism, the worship of one. It is believed to be the first monotheistic effort in history.

“This did not sit well with the established religious leaders. The movement was crushed, and after Akhenaton’s death, numerous attempts were made to erase his memory.”

The exhibit also examines King Tut’s much overlooked African heritage, along with the religious magic of certain sacred objects and the alleged “curse” of Tutankhamun.

“This exhibit will certainly be a memorable and enriching experience for anyone who sees it,” the curator said. “We hope it will be received as enthusiastically as it was a decade ago, and with all these thrilling objects, we’re sure it will.” 

Tutankhamun: Return of the King is presented by the South Carolina State Museum in association with The International Museum Institute of New York. 

Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 62 and above, and $11 for children 3-12 and includes regular admission to the museum. 

Media sponsors include WIS-TV, Clear Channel Radio, Lamar Advertising and The State.

The exhibit can be seen through March 23, 2014.

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