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Tutankhamun Exhibition international tour finishes with 8 million visitors; sets Australian visitor record
Crowds view the coffin of Tjuya, Tutankhamun’s great-grandmother. Photo: Bob Riha.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The touring exhibition of King Tut’s treasures Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs has closed its doors after an 8-month showing at the Melbourne Museum in Australia, shattering records as the most successful touring exhibition in Australian history with 796,277 visitors. This brings the exhibition’s 6.5-year international tour to a close with more than 8 million visitors in total.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in June 2005, swiftly becoming a blockbuster by attracting nearly 1 million visitors, second in the institution’s history only to the 1970s Tutankhamun exhibition tour. The exhibition continued to set attendance records throughout its tour, which included: Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale; The Field Museum (Chicago); The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia); The O2 (London); Dallas Museum of Art; de Young Museum (San Francisco); Discovery Times Square (New York City); and finally Melbourne Museum.

Reaching 796,277 visitors at Melbourne Museum ranks the exhibition significantly higher than any previous exhibition in Australia including Melbourne Museum ’s A Day in Pompeii in 2009, which attracted 332,679 people and Titanic the Artefact Exhibition in 2010, which reached 480,879 in its six-month run. In keeping with typical visitorship during the tour, 41 percent of Australian visitors were from outside the host city’s metropolitan area.

“More than 8 million people have visited Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs since it opened in Los Angeles in 2005,” said John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International. “It’s a rarity in this industry to maintain such momentum over so many years, but the enduring fascination for Tutankhamun transcends the ordinary, just like the treasures themselves.”

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs was organized by the National Geographic Society, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Live (and IMG in Australia ), with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. A portion of exhibition proceeds goes toward antiquity preservation and conservation efforts in Egypt , including the building of a new Grand Museum in Cairo that will provide a world-class home for the country’s treasured artifacts.

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