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Highly Anticipated King Tutankhamun Exhibition Makes its Denver Debut
Tutankhamun’s golden sandals. © Sandro Vannini.

DENVER, CO.- The Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) highly anticipated summer exhibition, Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, opens to the public June 29, 2010 and runs through Jan. 9, 2011. Featuring more than 100 treasures from the tomb of King Tut and additional ancient sites, the exhibition will make its debut and sole Rocky Mountain appearance at DAM.

“This is the culmination of months of preparation to welcome King Tut’s treasures here in Denver, and display some of the most exquisite art objects from ancient Egypt,” said Christoph Heinrich, director of the DAM. “The Museum’s expanded campus, complete with large exhibition galleries in the new Hamilton Building, provides the facilities to offer the community a wide variety of art experiences, and we are thrilled to be hosting this important King Tut exhibition.”

Visitors will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view more than 50 breathtaking objects from King Tut’s tomb, including the golden sandals that adorned the mummy and an intricate canopic jar that held the pharaoh’s mummified stomach.

“Tutankhamun’s magic still captures the hearts of people all over the world, even though more than 85 years have passed since the discovery of his amazing tomb,” said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs features striking objects from some of the most important rulers throughout 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history, from the 4th Dynasty into the Late Period (about 2,600 B.C. to 660 B.C.). Derived from a variety of contexts, including temples and royal and private tombs, many of these artifacts had never before visited the United States prior to this exhibition tour.

This spectacular collection features the largest image of King Tut ever unearthed – a 10-foot statue of the pharaoh found at the remains of the funerary temple of two of his high officials. The statue still retains much of its original paint. The exhibition follows a storyline that explores the splendor of the pharaohs, their function in both the earthly and divine worlds and what “kingship” meant to the Egyptian people. Visitors encounter artifacts from powerful Egyptian rulers, including Khefren, whose great pyramid is the only remaining structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world; Hatshepsut, the queen who became a pharaoh; and Psusennes I, whose magnificent golden death mask will be on display.

The DAM has dedicated two expansive Hamilton Building gallery spaces to the exhibition, the Anschutz Gallery and the Gallagher Family Gallery. The dramatic experience begins with a short National Geographic documentary narrated by award-winning actor Harrison Ford, then continues in spaces exploring some of the most important pharaohs throughout ancient Egyptian history. The final galleries are dedicated to King Tut’s tomb, including an area devoted to its discovery by British explorer Howard Carter in 1922. Visitors encounter legendary artifacts from the tomb’s antechamber, annex, treasury and burial chamber in corresponding galleries, which include the pharaoh’s golden sandals, jewelry, furniture, weaponry and statuary.

“Denver has a history of embracing exhibitions surrounding ancient Egypt. This is the first time treasures from the tomb of King Tut, the most celebrated pharaoh of all, have visited Denver, bringing with them a whole new level of excitement and opportunity to learn about this enthralling era,” said John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International.

New scientific discoveries providing insight into King Tut’s legendary life and death are also brought to light. The exhibition features the first 3-D CT scans of the great king’s mummy, which were obtained as part of a landmark Egyptian research and conservation project, partially funded by the National Geographic Society.

“Egypt's ancient treasures are among the world’s greatest cultural legacies,” said Terry Garcia, executive vice president, National Geographic Society. “Even with the great wealth of research that already exists, new technologies continue to open up the past in ways never imagined. Visitors to this exhibition will not only see stunning artifacts spanning 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history, but they will also learn more about the life and death of Tutankhamun through CT scans conducted on his mummy.”

The Denver Art Museum | "Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs" | Zahi Hawass |

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