Tuesday, March 17, 2009

King Tutankhamun, the Boy King

This is a picture showing Howard Carter, as he inspects the mummy of King Tut. OK, so I wanted to have a nice Spring Break, so I packed up the family and got in the car, and drove to Dallas to see King Tutankhamun, the boy King. The advertisement showed the golden burial mask in brilliant color.

Now, when you arrive at the Dallas Museum of Art, there is a similar banner, only this one is four stories high, and hanging from the side of the building. Now, my friend, if you saw such advertisements, what would you be expecting to see when you went in to the museum. . . . King Tut, right?

Well, we found something very different. First, I should say that based on the advertisement we saw in the newspaper, we drove over 5 1/2 hours to get to the museum. Once there, we paid $100 for our tickets. After that, we stood in a line 2 1/2 hours long to get into the museum. Once you have stood in the line, and are about ready to go in, there is another person who comes up and wants to know if you want the audio headsets so you can hear what is going on with each display (for another $20 per person). What ????? After all this you will not know what is going on unless you shell out another $20?

So, right off the bat, this whole thing did not feel right. Well, we finally got in there. It was very crowded, and the best way I can describe it would be 17 rooms of Egyptian Nik-Nacks. The first 6 or 7 rooms had lots of Egyptian stuff only very loosely related to King Tut. As you went through the displays, the rooms gradually got more dramatic, darker, and had fewer and better items. The suspense was building. You finally got to a room that had only one item . . . a little basket that had held King Tut's liver. The basket was open, and you could look in. I can tell you that King Tut's liver was not in the basket for the display. Anyway, this had built to such a climax, you are sure the next room will have the Boy King's mummy, and dramatic burial mask. But no, the next room just dumps you into the gift shop. The way you know that it is the gift shop is that the little Nik-Nacks now have prices on them, and you can pick them up.

Wow, what a RIP-OFF. King Tut, his Sarcophagus, his golden burial mask (the one dramatically pictured in all the advertisements), his coffin, and all that stuff WERE NOT AT THE MUSEUM! You should have seen the looks on people's faces as they got dumped into the gift shop. Everyone had the same reaction, "Where is King Tut?"

You know, I might have actually enjoyed the exhibit if they had just been honest in what they had . . . 17 rooms of Egyptian Nik-Nacks, and the basket they used to hold his liver. Oh, and they had a little headband and necklace he used.



19 comments:

  1. POPE GEORGE RINGOMarch 17, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    King Tut's body is still in its original tomb in Cairo. The tomb is not open to the public. I assume that the promoters of the exhibition allow people to just assume that the exhibit includes the body. I attended the Philadelphia exhibition last year and felt ripped off also. THe artifacts were interesting but you walked away with this feeling that you were being made a fool of.

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  2. Ha Ha, the mummy's curse! Now we know the secret of the mummy's curse...

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  3. Actually, the museum's website was very clear about Tut. The mummy and death mask are too fragile and too valuable, and will never again leave the Egyptian museum in Cairo. If you didn't see the death mask when the exhibit toured a few years ago, then you missed the opportunity to see it. I went to see the exhibit, and knew going in to it that the mummy wasn't there.

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  4. That kind of deception deserves widely circulated stories by those who felt ripped off.

    Perhaps an en masse boycotting of the exhibition [from town to town] would send a message. Such pretense deserves to fail.

    I am curious as to the percentage of those in attendance who sprang for the headphones after paying the admission price.

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  5. Well then. P.T. Barnum is alive and still working the crowds. Truth in advertising does not apply to Museums. I too was once ripped off by "tut"

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  6. I saw the exhibit in the 70's - all the junk, the death mask and the mummy.

    Guess the Egyptians were better at packing in the 70's than they are today.

    -XC

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  7. Kent Says,

    Dan is right about PT Barnum. Exiting into the gift shop sounds like Barnum's "This way to the Egress." Upon entering the Egress exhibit the public would find out egress meant exit and found themselves in line for another ticket . . .

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  8. What a rip-off. Even if they had had, well, maybe not the mummy, but at least the famous death mask (I saw it in Hamburg in the 1980s), how can they charge one hundred bucks? A high-class museum exhibition in Germany is around ten to fifteen Euros entrance fee, and usually nothing for the headsets, so anything more than 20 Dollars would really shock me off.

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  9. Drove 3 hours to Washington DC, waited in line for over 9 hours, and had my car locked up overnight in the parking garage that closed while we were in line... but at least we got to see the real deal.

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  10. What a shame! Let me tell you what I do in situations like this. I nicely request my money back. If they don't give me my money back, I ask for their supervisor. If the supervisor doesn't give me my money back, I write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper and mine. Then I call the radio stations. I've never had to go further than that. There is only once I didn't get compensated, but I made sure they got A LOT of bad press. I choose my battles carefully and tend to let most things go, but if I'd had your experience, I'd have to do battle!

    I saw the King Tut exhibit in Chicago in 1976. It was absolutely incredible.

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  11. i agree heather,i too am the same way,if im not happy,youre gonna hear about it,as in most scenarios,the customer is always right,i would have been really hard pressed not to inform someone of this,management,newspaper etc,no matter if its a place to eat,an airline or a museum,if you feel its not right,someone needs to know!
    oldbear.

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  12. ha haa,,hence the nick of oldbear.

    oldbear.

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  13. PJM:

    Wow, what a rip-off. I would have asked for my money back, too.

    You always have to read the fine print these days.

    About 10 years ago, we saw the original Titanic Exhibition in Boston, when Ballard first released some stuff. Actually, it was pretty good.

    I don't know how those exhibits are today.

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  14. NB - as best I can recall the Egyptian gov't gets a huge % of the gate, so not only are you getting ripped off, you're funding something you probably don't wanna!

    -XC

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  15. A few years ago I went to the Tut exhibit at the Luxor in Las Vegas. I walked in knowing that what I was to see were replicas. It was arranged just as tomb was. No crowd. I liked it.

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  16. As a Dallas native & DMA member I was already angry that our city was plastered with promos for pieces that were not part of the exhibition. Now I'm also embarrassed that people have traveled to our city to be deceived by this scam. All I can hope is that the rest of Dallas was kinder to you.

    If it's any consolation I read that the exhibition has been a financial disappointment for the museum.

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  17. Philip B,
    I did have a wonderful time in Dallas. I had a great steak dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Wonderful meal, good price, and friendly service. Nice time at the mall. Yes, Dallas was a nice place to visit. Those who live there and care should raise a stink about the King Tut scam . . . it reflects poorly on a wonderful city.
    PJM

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  18. I think we registered our displeasure with our wallets.

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  19. Nice picture! Looks freaky though! Scary!

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