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Immersive King Tut Exhibit Looks Beyond the Gold Mask

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The museum’s 3D theater holds the simulated sarcophagus and an illustrated video lecture that sweeps across three walls.

Credit: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post

The objects in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen — or, as a new exhibition at the National Geographic Museum spells it, Tutankhamun — were meant to commemorate the Egyptian ruler's life and guide him to the next one. Since they were first unearthed almost exactly 100 years ago, such exquisite artifacts as the golden funerary mask of Tut, as he is more commonly known today, have attracted widespread interest and admiration. But "Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience" emphasizes nonmaterial aspects of the boy king's significance. Its centerpiece is an animation of the dead king's journey to the afterlife, as imagined from the text known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The organizers of this almost entirely virtual-reality exhibition didn't have much choice but to take this approach, since the relics from Tut's tomb are no longer available for display outside Egypt. The show features some impressively set-designed spaces that evoke tombs, caverns and the pharaoh's burial chamber, complete with an oversized reproduction of his sarcophagus. The bulk of the exhibits, however, are constructed of nothing more substantial than sound and light.

"Beyond King Tut" was produced by the partnership of Paquin Entertainment Group, which devised the "Beyond Van Gogh" and "Beyond Monet" exhibitions, and Immersive Experiences, a firm whose creative producer, Mark Lach, supervised the design of "King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs," an artifact show that toured between 2004 and 2012.

From The Washington Post
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