If you have an hour or so to spare in your busy day, take a trip down to Pier 36 and journey back more than 3,000 years to ancient Egypt or Kemet and experience, and immerse yourself in the life and legacy of King Tut. No, there is no mummy of Tutankhamun to behold and only a few replicas in this almost boundless exhibit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of his tomb. There is a cost to see the digital recreation by the National Geographic Society, but there is no line of viewers—my wife and I made it six for this afternoon’s attendance.
Before you enter the several galleries, you watch an intro film, though it speeds by quite rapidly, and then you step into the chambers, each of them showcased on the walls, beginning with the explorations led by Howard Carter back in 1922. Unlike those feverish times, there’s no worry now that he desecrated the tombs and unleashed a host of supposed curses and vengeful demons.
There is, however, some dispute among Egyptologists about the actual location of King Tut’s chamber—he became a pharaoh at eight or nine, depending on the source, and ruled for ten years before his death around 1323 B.C.E—several noted authorities controversially contend that what has been generally understood to be his chamber was really the antechamber. We won’t bother you with that convoluted discussion that even baffles some of the most informed about that long time ago.
Even so, the exhibit is a splendid display, particularly the huge gallery with a replica of the ship of Ra that transports the dead back to the other world of Isis, Osiris, and the other gods. It’s a spectacular light show that ends the tour after you’ve seen the process of mummification, Tut’s family tree, and a few items that entertained the boy pharaoh.
Before you exit, there are—as it is with most exhibits—some items to purchase, including the customary tee-shirts, books, and other bric-a-brac for your walls, refrigerator, or shelves.
But the most memorable keepsake is in your head, which after the immersive tour leaves you breathless. Tut might have been a bit disenchanted with the moment’s poor turnout but there’s still lots of time before it closes, Jan. 1, 2023, and it’s an educational trip back to a past that many believe set us off on this odyssey to the future.