King Tut: The Immersive Experience Why Are We Fascinated with the Egyptian King?

He’s had more of a life after his death than in all of his 19 or 20 years on earth. According to a story earlier this year in the New Yorker, writer Casey Cep notes that King Tut has become a “cultural ambassador,” with exhibits attracting “larger crowds than the Beatles,” and since the tomb was discovered, Egypt’s tourist business has boomed; in the 1970’s, he was a political pawn as Britain and the United States bartered with the African country to borrow the Tut exhibit. Yet it may come down to this: over the centuries, more than a hundred and seventy pharaohs ruled, but through the life and death of this Tutankhamun fellow, who only enjoyed a ten-year reign give or take, we get a glimpse into how an Egyptian king ruled and how he died and reached the afterlife.

The thousands of artifacts discovered provide clues into his life, his hobbies, and his health.  With every decade that goes by, some new fact emerges, and from the interpretations of the tomb’s wall drawings, we see all the preparations and care that went into his sendoff into the great beyond. In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter didn’t just unearth a “magnificent tomb with seals intact,” as his telegram read, he unleashed a celebrity with universal appeal and a fascination that never wanes.  

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience brings a museum exhibit to a whole new level and one comes away wowed by the event. We begin the tour by walking through a dramatic maze of dark curtains, with wall panels providing a history of the boy king from his rise — after the death of his father — to Pharaoh-hood at age nine. From tests done on his remains, we learn he had physical ailments like a cleft palate, curved spine, and clubbed foot and since there were roughly 130 worn and scuffed canes, not only did he rely on them, but he’d need them on his journey. Cause of death was probably from an infection due to a broken leg although it’s also believed he may have had malaria. Considered a “minor pharaoh,” Tut was still a “god,” though mostly forgotten until Carter’s discovery. 

At Pier 36, we sit in the massive event spaces where Tut’s life is narrated on wall-size projections that enlarge the tomb’s carvings and paintings, and selections from the tomb discoveries, such as his crown, burial mask, variety of weapons, boxes of food, extra clothes, and 93 sandals, and so much more.  In fact, there were over 5,000 items stored in the tomb, but the one that is given prominence is the shiny golden throne made of wood and covered with gold leafing, silver, glass, and semi-precious gemstones, with legs shaped like lion’s claws — a wondrous example of the artistry and craftsmanship performed over 3,000 years ago. Upon death, according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, King Tut was separated from his life force or ka, and his personality aka ba. In order for him to achieve immortality, these two elements needed to be reunited through a series of trials which makes for an exciting finale that combines an animated action movie with a touch of spirituality. 

The exhibit runs through January 1, 2023 and makes for a great family event for the holiday season.  Consider the upgraded VIP ticket for the Virtual Reality experience of entering the tomb with a 360-degree view and see a selection of golden items fly up for your review. 

Photo Credit: courtesy of Beyond King Tut

For more information, go to the website for Beyond King Tut.

About MJ Hanley-Goff (142 Articles)
MJ Hanley-Goff has been contributing to Woman Around Town since its inception in 2009. She began her career at Newsday in the early 90’s and has continued writing professionally for other New York publications like the Times Herald-Record, Orange Magazine, and Hudson Valley magazine. Former editor of Hudson Valley Parent magazine, she also contributed stories to AAA’s Car & Travel, and Tri-County Woman. After completing her novel and a self-help book, she created MJWRITES, INC. to offer writing workshops and book coaching to first time authors, and college essay writing help to students. MJ is thrilled and honored to write for WAT for the amazing adventures it offers, like reviewing concerts, people, authors, events, and tourist attractions in New York, and around the world. “I enjoy drawing attention to the off-the-beaten path kinds of stories,” she says. “It’s great big world out there, with so many talented and creative artists, doers, and thinkers.”