🎃 October 13 🎃

🎃memories and mummies🎃

I have a vague memory of viewing the travelling exhibition, Tutankhamun Treasures, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto when it was on display November 6 to December 6, 1964. We did have photograph clipping from a Toronto newspaper of people’s feet waiting to enter. And there are my Buster Browns (awful, chunky shoes I had to wear due to (yikes) bone spurs on my heels) and my mother’s trendier shoes!

This was part of the first “world” tour of artifacts from Tut’s tomb. British archeologist, Howard Carter “discovered” the treasure trove in 1922.  At the time, the mystery and mythology surrounding the dig — the existence of a mummy’s curse upon those who desecrated the tomb – added to the publicity. When several members of the expedition (but not Carter who was the first inside) died due to explained circumstances, the allure grew. (And so did a series of mummy movies, but more on that later.)

“In 1961 the planned construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt threatened to flood a number of major archaeological sites. . .  To save them, archaeologists and other interested groups began a worldwide effort to raise money and awareness . . .”1 Among them was Froelich Rainey, Director of the Penn Museum and President of the American Association of Museums. Realizing the vast amount of money required to run salvage operations prior to completion of the dam project, he “convinced the Egyptian government to send a selection of objects from King Tut’s tomb to tour museums throughout the U.S. [and the “world”] for the first time since their discovery by Howard Carter in 1922.”2

According to Alessandro Pezzati in his article “Tutankhamun Treasures: The First Tut Show Came to the Museum,” the resulting exhibition contained “34 small but fine objects, many of them connected directly with Tutankhamun’s mummy.” These items included “a gold dagger and embossed sheath, the flail and crook made of gold and blue glass, and a miniature mummy case—an exact replica of the larger sarcophagus—that held the king’s internal organs.”3 Other objects, such jewelry, alabaster carvings – often inlaid with lapis lazuli and other gems — completed the show.

In most museums, other items from their Egypt collections were also showcased. For centuries, tomb raiders, armies, amateur and professional archeologists and Egyptologists had looted burial sites. As a result, private collections and public museums held vast amounts of funerary items.

Alessandro Pezzati, “Tutankhamun Treasures: The First Tut Show Came to the Museum,” Expedition Magazine 48.3 (2006), Penn Museum, 2006. Accessed 10 Oct 2020.

2 Pezzati, “Tutankhamun Treasures.” Accessed 10 Oct 2020.

3 Pezzati, “Tutankhamun Treasures.” Accessed 10 Oct 2020.

For more on the 1960s Tut world tour, see for example:”

Steven Rosen, “King Tut’s Forgotten First American Tour” and Wikipedia, “Exhibitions of Artifacts from the Tomb of Tutankhamun” Accessed 10 Oct 2020.

For more on Ancient Egypt, Egyptology, etc., see for example:

Ancient Egypt, History.com

Ancient Egypt especially Tutankhamun, Britannica.com

Ancient Egypt especially Tutankhamun, Ancient History Encyclopedia

For an easy gateway, check out National Geographic’s educational site:  King Tut; Road to the Afterlife.

A forensic reconstruction of King Tutankhamen based on computed tomography (CT) scans. Image by Atelier Daynes Paris

British Museum houses an extensive collection of Egyptian artifacts, including “mummies” (I got lost in these museum halls, but eventually found the famous Rosetta Stone!)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) exhibition, Discovering Tutankhamun: The Photographs of Harry Burton, which ran in 2006 is one of the “virtual” links to the Met’s past showing of Egyptian art, and art about Egypt.

Mummies are everywhere . . .

image: the mummy from “the monster squad by J. WRIG” on deviant art