Melbourne Museum brings ‘Tutankhamun and The Golden Age of The Pharaohs’ to Australia

One of Tutankhamun's canopic coffinettes travelling with 'Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs'Treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamun will be seen in Australia for the first time, when the Melbourne Museum hosts ‘Tutankhamun and The Golden Age of The Pharaohs’, startingApril, 2011.

Up to 700,000 people are expected to visit the exhibition, which will feature more than 130 artefacts from Tut’s tomb and the gravesand temples of his ancestors from Egypt’s 200-year ‘Golden Age’.

Six months ago,Frank Howarth, director of Sydney’s Australian Museum, said the show’s $10 million price tag for six months, and its size were too big for Australian institutions to handle. In stead, the Australian Museum hosted the $1.5 million exhibition ‘Egyptian Treasures: Art of the Pharaohs’, from the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Austria.

Now, the Melbourne Museum entered a partnership with sports and entertainment management company IMG, Victorian Major Events Company and the State Government to bring the Tutankhamun exhibition currently running in New York, with specials suchas King Tut’s chariot andan impressive 3D replica of King Tut’s mummy to Melbourne.

Among the artefacts that will visit Melbourne are fifty treasures* that belonged to Tutankhamun including his golden diadem, the falcon collar, golden daggers and jewellery.

Other King Tut masterpieces (preview) on show are a canopic coffin, Tut’s gilded chair and a beautifully crafted board game.

These will be accompanied by eighty more treasures found in other royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings (Keith listed his Top 10 things you shouldn’t miss here).

The exhibition heading for Australia is one of two King Tut spectaculars doing the rounds, both sponsored by National Geographic. The other exhibition, ‘Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharoahs’ currently runs at the Denver Art Museum.

After Melbourne, the exhibits in ‘Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs’ are likely to return to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

* The exhibition does not include King Tut’s golden death mask and burial coffins. The image that so far has been used on all of the posters for the ‘Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs’ exhibition is from a smaller coffinette holding King Tut’s liver. Tut’s death mask is safely kept in the Cairo Museum, which it will only leave to travel to the Grand Egyptian Museum, once this is finished.

Alternatives to a visit to Egypt for marvelling at these amazing burial items are our virtual death mask and sarcophagus at King Tut Virtual (or the 3DQuiz here), or for a glimpseof the treasures set in a replica of Tut’s tomb,a visit to the Semmel exhibition ‘Tutankhamun His Tomb and His Treasures’ (on display at Manchester until February 27th, 2011).