King Tut exhibit to come to Science Museum in February

This shabti, or funerary figure, of King Tut was found in the antechamber to his tomb. Made of wood and painted gold, it was meant to perform labor in the afterlife so that the king himself could rest.
CREDIT: ©2008 Sandro Vannini

The Science Museum of Minnesota announced Wednesday it will host the largest exhibit of treasures from the tomb of King Tut ever displayed in the U.S.

"Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs" will be the largest exhibition in Science Museum history at 16,000 square feet.

Science Museum Senior Vice-President Mike Day said this is the first time the King Tut treasures have travelled to the region, and present a unique opportunity for visitors.

"This exhibition is more than twice the size of the exhibition which travelled in the 1970s," Day said. "This exhibition of King Tut will be the largest exhibition which we have ever hosted at the Science Museum."

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In conjunction with the show, Egyptologists have been re-examining items in the Science Museum's own collection, including the highly-popular Egyptian mummy. Days said they hope to use the latest techniques to learn more about what they have.

Day said the exhibit will include more than 50 artifacts from the 3000-year-old tomb of the ancient Egyptian king, who died when he was just 19 years old. However, the show does not include the famous funeral mask which is no longer allowed to leave Egypt.

Tickets will be timed and dated and will cost $25 to $30 each. The exhibit opens Feb. 18 and closes Sept. 5, 2011.

The exhibition was put together by the National Geographic Society, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Some of the proceeds from ticket prices will go toward antiquities preservation and conservation efforts in Egypt, including museum construction in Cairo.

(MPR reporter Elizabeth Dunbar contributed to this report.)