The blockbuster exhibition, The Discovery of King Tut, makes its North American premiere on the lower level of Union Station, beginning April 4 at 11 a.m. after a dry run, April 3, for media and selected officials when Premier Exhibitions, Inc ., a leading provider of museum -quality exhibitions throughout the world, prepared the exhibition for throngs of anticipated visitors.
Paris, Prague, Zurich, Madrid, and other major European cities rushed in droves and stood in line for hours to experience The Discovery: King Tut–His Tomb–His Treasures, and now, Kansas City experiences the wonders of the discovery as the first North American city to host the exhibition at historic Union Station, beginning April 4.
Yes, Kansas City’s Union Station unveils The Discovery of King Tut in its North American debut on its trek across the country after the Kansas City run. After Kansas City, the exhibit travels to San Diego, CA.
The largest exhibit in Union Station history, features a total of 1,000 breathtaking reproductions that were scientifically and expertly hand-crafted over five years by leading Egyptian artisans, George Gaustello, president and CEO of Union Station said. Gaustello said group sales register more than past exhibits.
“Schools are lining up, quickly before school ends for summer vacation. We even have schools reserving for next August when school begins and before the exhibit moves on,” he said on Thursday, April 3 at the media preview.
With that kind of reservations and bookings, Gaustello said he anticipates long and strong enthusiasm for the exhibit. He said that grade six in Kansas and grade seven in Missouri study Egyptology and the exhibit appeals strongly to those age groups.
Approximately five million people have experienced The Discovery of King Tut in 20 host cities since its opening in 2008. Through a partnership with Semmel Concerts GmbH ("Semmel"), Premier is now bringing the exhibition to North America.
Gaustello, announced, the exhibit to Kansas City media on Tues., Feb. 4, at Union Station. He explained that Kansas City debuts The Discovery of King Tut, its first Western hemisphere stop. The exhibit runs from April 4–Sept. 7, with more than 1,000 recreated objects from the original discovery of 1922. He noted that the exhibit is only for five months, one month shorter than most such exhibits.
He said The Discovery of King Tut provides an “unprecedented opportunity to experience the most remarkable discovery of the 20th Century.”
“The story of King Tut has fascinated the world since the remarkable discovery of his tomb,” Mark Lach vice president of design and new content for Premier Exhibitions, Inc., said, “and this exhibition presents this fascinating subject in a thrillingly unique experience, and I ’m confident visitors will leave The Discovery of King Tut exhilarated by having seen something very special.”
The exhibit differs from other such events in that it takes visitors back to the time of discovery. An audio recording allows guests to move at their own pace to numbered areas and then hear the commentary. Before the actual viewing of the spectacular finds, visitors view a short video presentation that contains some original film of the archeologists and the original excavations.
“We wanted to bring the moment of the tomb’s discovery back to life and allow our visitors to relive it vividly,” Christoph Scholz, executive producer, The Discovery of King Tut, SC Exhibitions, said. “A show without barriers or behind glass, in which not just a few objects can be shown, but the whole treasure and even the reconstructed burial chambers. An exhibition that leads you right to the heart of Tutankhamun’s tomb, presents his treasures and explains them in context. An exhibition in which people can relive what the archaeologist Howard Carter went through in November 1922.”
The Discovery of King Tut visited 20 cities in Europe since its inception in 2008 and now comes to Union Station as the largest exhibit in Union Station history, covering a total of 20,000 square feet. The exhibit features a total of 1,000 breathtaking reproductions that were scientifically and expertly hand-crafted by Egyptian artisans. Premier Exhibitions, Inc. brings the collection to Kansas City after approximately five million people viewed the European tour.
Union Station joined forces with Premier Exhibitions and Bank of America to bring the monumental crowd pleaser to Kansas City. For the initial announcement, Gaustello introduced Mark Lach, Jack Ovel, Kansas City President of Bank of America, and Bob Regnier, Board President of Union Station Kansas City, Inc. All spoke of the excitement the exhibitions bring with it to every city. They all noted past successful exhibits at Union Station, including Princess Diana, the Titanic, Andy Warhol, and Dead Sea Scrolls. They all anticipate this exhibit will surpass them all.
About the idea of the exhibition and speaking to the concept, Lach said he had traveled to Egypt and gone inside Tut’s now vacant tomb just to see what remains. He said there is nothing there. All has been removed and that this exhibition recreates the moment Howard Carter first broke through a wall and peeked in to see all the treasures, untouched and as they lay hidden and buried for Tut’s afterlife.
Lach further explained that Carter had nearly given up because all of the previously discovered tombs in the Valley of the Kings had been discovered and raided over the centuries, but the boy king had never been found.
“He would have been completely forgotten by history had Carter not persevered and found what turned out to be the largest discovery of the 20th Century,” he said.
The exhibition traveled for several months from its last European location, Nuremberg, Germany. Five weeks of building began upon its arrival in the United States. The exhibit opens April 4 and only runs until Sept. 7, somewhat shorter than normal traveling exhibits, Gaustello said.
Tickets remain on sale at the Union Station box office or online at www.unionstation.org. Tickets for the general public are $19.95. According to information provided by Union Station, admission price includes a special audio tour (one for adults and one version paced for children) which enhances the exhibition experience.
“It not only captivates, but educates, making it appropriate for all ages,” a Union Station spokesman said.
“Because Egyptian antiquities from King Tut's tomb can no longer travel outside Egypt, this is an experience like no other,” Guastello said. “The selection of Union Station to host the North American premier of this breathtaking exhibition is a coup not only for us, but for Kansas City and the entire Midwest region. The Discovery of King Tut has visited the cultural capitals of Europe, including Munich, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Geneva and now, Kansas City. We are in prestigious and world-class company.”
He said this was a monumental accomplishment for Kansas City and continues to accentuate the unique exhibition strength of Union Station. Many cities do not have the necessary space to display such a treasure chest of historic relevance. Gaustello predicted that the exhibit could top all previous exhibits at the Station. Real Pirates which just ended ranked seventh overall of past exhibits.
“We are delighted to bring this remarkable exhibition to North America for the first time, and in choosing a host city for the premiere, Union Station and Kansas City was the perfect fit,” Lach said. “We value our longstanding relationship with Union Station and have seen great success with previous exhibitions including: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Real Pirates and America I Am.”
The Discovery of King Tut at Union Station in Kansas City is made by possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor, Bank of America.
“Bank of America is a leading supporter of the arts around the world and right here in Kansas City,” Jack Ovel, Kansas City president of Bank of America, said.
Concerning the exhibition, the Discovery of King Tut presents the actual excavation itself, its story and its invaluable legacy, according to information from Premier Exhibitions, a press release said. Using painstakingly, scientifically produced reconstructions, the exhibition allows the public to enjoy the magnificent splendor of these priceless Egyptian treasures without ever harming the fragile, sensitive originals –which can only now be exhibited separately and are no longer permitted to tour outside of Egypt. Preservation is of paramount importance, and the use of reconstructions is now the increasing trend in heritage conservation.
The exhibition allows visitors to experience the background of this historic discovery, and to get to know the most important artifacts through stunning and scientifically produced reconstructions. These individual presentations allow the world to experience the treasures of King Tutankhamun’s tomb without compromising the fragile originals, most of which are not permitted to be toured, the release said.
According to Lach, when he first began working to secure the traveling rights to the exhibition, another exhibit of Tut was ongoing. The difference was that the hugely popular exhibit contained only 50 artifacts and did not show the enormity of the Tut treasures nor did it re-create the excitement of the discovery.
This exhibit focuses on the moment of discovery and takes visitors back to 1922 and the initial find. That, Lach said, makes this the most monumental and thorough exhibition of Tut’s life and after-life. The exhibit also explains Egyptian changes under Tut from the ways and beliefs of his father. While Akhenaten was known to be Tut's dad, Nefertiti is believed to be Tut’s mother.
“One of the highlights in the Exhibition is a large, open, gilded outer shrine of the Boy King’s burial chamber. Upon discovery, Howard Carter uncovered an additional three gilded shrines and a stone sarcophagus, in which there were three inner coffins. Therein lay the intact mummy of the young King wearing the golden mask. The ensemble’s presentation at the heart of the burial reveals the ultimate meaning of Tutankhamun’s tremendous efforts for his existence in the afterlife: the transformation of the King into the immortal sun god,” a press release stated.