Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Exhibition: Tutankhamun to go to Australia

Herald Sun (Simon Plant)

In a stunning coup, Melbourne Museum will host Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs in April 2011.

Up to 700,000 people are expected to visit the blockbuster exhibition, which showcases 50 of King Tut's burial objects and 80 more treasures unearthed from Egyptian tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

"This is going to truly be a once in a lifetime experience," museum chief Dr Patrick Greene said yesterday.

"The biggest, the greatest exhibition of all time, right here in Melbourne."

A National Geographic exhibition, Tutankhamun has already been seen by seven million people worldwide.

The museum was chosen as the exclusive Australian venue because of its success with blockbusters such as 2009's A Day in Pompeii, which had 332,679 visitors, and Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, which will end on November 7, has attracted 430,000 people so far.

The Age

Egypt's Ministry of Culture has spiked interest by vowing that this is the last time the boy king's tomb treasures will ever leave his homeland.

Only last December, the director of Sydney's Australian Museum, Frank Howarth, said the show's $10 million price tag and its size were too big for Australian institutions to handle.

But in a coup for Victoria, the Melbourne Museum entered a partnership with sports and entertainment management company IMG to bring the king to Melbourne. Victorian Major Events Company and the State Government also helped to underwrite the bill.

"We looked at bringing it out ourselves and the answer was no," said Dr Patrick Greene, the director of the Melbourne Museum. "It needed IMG to take on the risk."

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