To mark the centenary of the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 and the lead up to the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, 150 precious artefacts are currently on a world tour. An extraordinary collection of objects from the Pharaoh’s tomb, 60 of which have never been seen outside of Egypt before, will be on show from California to Japan, London to Sydney. During 2020 the exhibition will run until 3 May at the Saatchi Gallery in London, before moving to Boston opening on 13 June. Tickets for the exhibition can be purchased online, in advance – follow the links below for the official ticketing website.
Itinerary: King Tut World Tour Schedule of Locations and Dates
Ended 13 January 2019 Los Angeles: California Science Center
23 March – 15 September 2019 Paris: Grande Halle de la Villette
2 November 2019 – 3 May 2020 London: Saatchi Gallery
13 June 2020 Opens Boston: Saunders Castle, Park Plaza
2021 (6 months) Sydney: Australian Museum
2023 New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Besides these confirmed locations and dates, the touring exhibition is scheduled to appear in Japan, Canada, and South Korea. Further details will be added when these become available.
The Last World Tour
King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is being hailed by authorities in Egypt as the last exhibition of the famed Pharaoh’s funerary objects to tour internationally.
See them, visit them, before they return back to Egypt forever.
Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities
The collection on tour since March 2018 comprises 150 objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Jewellery, sculptures and ritual objects join what is thought to be the oldest glove on earth, and the world’s oldest trumpet. Sixty of these artefacts have never travelled before. That is more than the number of artefacts that has ever been seen at once outside of Egypt. To put the hype around this exhibition into perspective, previous major travelling exhibitions contained only 55 of King Tut’s funerary artefacts.
But why the last? Until recently the 1000s of objects recovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb were in the Cairo Museum, many of which were on display. One of the gold chariots was on display in the Egyptian National Military Museum. In 2018 the last of King Tut’s objects were moved from these museums to the new museum near the Giza Pyramids. Scheduled to open in 2021, the Grand Egyptian Museum will tell the story of 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian history with over 100,000 artefacts. The new museum will also be the final resting place of the Tutankhamun collection. It is reported that around 7,000 square metres of display space has been allocated to this extraordinary collection of funerary objects.
London: Saatchi Gallery, 2 November 2019 to 3 May 2020
The third stop on the World tour of the King Tut exhibition is the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London. This follows two highly successful exhibitions of the Pharaoh's funerary objects, in 1972 and 2007. These two exhibitions attracted over one million visitors, and in each there were less than 55 objects on show.
Buying Tickets for the King Tut Exhibition in London
Entry to the exhibition will be on a timed entry basis, and are sold for time slots every 30 minutes: 9.00 am, 9.30 am, 10.00 am, etc. Most people take somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half to go through the exhibition. You are not, however, restricted in how long you can spend inside the exhibition.
Ticket prices for weekdays are cheaper than weekends, off peak and peak tickets respectively. For an adult an off-peak, weekday ticket the price ranges from £24.50 to £31.35. Peak ticket prices range from £28.50 to £37.40. These prices do not include a booking fee.
Book as far ahead as possible, as the website has a number of warnings about the possibility of price changes. Tickets for the first weekend in December are £37.40, whereas for the first weekend in January they are only £32.45. This could change.
PLEASE NOTE These ticket prices were correct at the beginning of November, we will keep this updated throughout the period of the exhibition.
Ticket purchases for groups of 15 or more is possible through Ticketmaster (contact Ticketmaster Group Sales in the UK on 0844 844 2121). Sign up for the newsletter on the official website for notification of ticket sales for individuals.
Essential tips for visiting Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, Saatchi Gallery, London
The Saatchi Gallery is easy to find. This was the queue on a quiet day.
Use public transport to get there as it is in central London and there is no parking on site. The nearest tube station is Sloane Square - when you exit the station, just walk straight ahead down King's Road, past Peter Jones store, and you will see signs to Tutankhamun Exhibition on your left. The walk takes about 3 minutes.
The mobile ticket office is outside the Saatchi Gallery.
Timed tickets are available online, or you can take your chances and buy onsite at the mobile ticket office.
Join the queue at the time printed on your ticket, not before, as you will not be admitted. The queue is outside, so have a waterproof or umbrella in case of rain.
The queue moves fairly quickly. There is a bag search before you enter the building. When you do enter the building, take advantage of the cloakroom which is opposite the entrance. You are not allowed to take anything other than small bags in with you. I highly recommend you also check your coats, as it gets incredibly hot inside with so many people there, and most people ended up carrying them, which then got in everyone's way.
Inside the gallery where you have your photos taken and can purchase an audio guide.
Once you enter, the queue takes you past a photographer who takes photos of your group against a green screen. (You will be given a receipt, and just before you leave the exhibition, you can view your photos, but there is no obligation to buy.)
The queue then splits into two, where you can choose to pay £6 for an audio guide or just go straight in. I chose to go without one, and as there were plenty of interpretation boards inside, I did not miss having one.
The exhibition starts with a film about the discovery of the tomb in 1922.
Inside the Exhibition:
The exhibition starts in a room where you stand to watch a five minute film in the dark. It is very well done, a dramatic introduction to both King Tutankhaumn and Howard Carter, the Egyptologist who found his tomb, and explains how both of them have been immortalised by the discovery. You then exit to the right of the room, and are free to wander around the rest of the galleries.
There are five galleries that make up the exhibition, and they are packed with people, particularly the early ones. There is a lot of shuffling around, waiting patiently to get close to the glass cases, and trying not to get annoyed by people bumping into you or sticking their phones in front of you to take photos.
These calcite vases are the first objects you see in the exhibition. They held perfumed oils which were highly valued for rituals.
This wooden gilded fan originally held 30 ostrich feathers. The inscription says that Tutankhamun hunted ostriches in the desert and provided the feathers for this fan.
That being said, it was worth it. The items on display are exquisite and many truly take your breath away. I was astonished by the level of detail in them, bearing in mind that they were never intended to be seen again, but buried forever with the boy King. The lighting and presentation is fantastic, each gallery is dark, with the individual objects illuminated so they glow, the gold and jewels shining at you from the other side of the glass cases.
A gilded wooden statue of Ptah, the God of Creator and craftsmen. He fashioned the bodies in which souls dwelt in the afterlife.
This beautiful coffinette stored the liver of Tutankhamun. During mumification, each organ was given its own receptacle for storage.
A short film tells how King Tutankhamun was written out of Egyptian history, as his reign had taken place at a time of political turmoil, so his name was removed from the public record, statues of him were destroyed, and his contemporaries had hoped that his name would never be mentioned again. The irony is that he is now the most famous of all of the Egyptians, and the exhibition looks at his portrayal since the 1920s, how ‘Tutmania’ swept across the world, influencing fashion, advertising, design, entertainment and permeating every aspect of 20th century life.
This transluscent alabaster chalice was called King Tutankhamun's 'wishing cup' by Howard Carter and was one of the first objects he saw when he entered the tomb.
The exhibition gives us more information about Howard Carter, the world’s most famous Egyptologist, and the discovery of the actual tomb.His famous words, on peering through the tomb for the first time and asked what he could see, “I can see wonderful things”, stays with you, as the exhibition really is a collection of these wonderful things and one can only imagine how he must have felt on their discovery.
The final gallery has a large single statue, which would have been one of a pair that stood at the entrance to his mortuary temple, still with traces of the vivid paint that would have decorated it.
You can stay as long as you like in the exhibition once you are. The average visit lasts about 1h30m, probably depending on the crowds around you and how quickly you can get to see the exhibits. I would recommend visiting at the start or end of the day to avoid the crowds as much as is possible.
is allowed, but not with a flash. It is very hard to take a good photo due to the darkness and the way the objects were lit. It was perfect for viewing visually, but very hard to get the same impact in a photo. That didn’t stop any of us from trying though, and there was quite a lot of queuing at the more impressive pieces for the best spot to take photos.
The shop has a wide selection of souvenirs, ranging from quality items to humourous ones, with plenty on offer for children.
Shop and Catalogues:
The visit ends in the Tutankhamun Shop, where you can buy a whole range of goods from pyramids, scarabs, t-shirts, Howard Carter hats and much more. Also available is the official catalogue, compiled by Dr Zahi Hawas. At £50, it’s not cheap, but it is a large hardback book and the photographs in it are stunning, far better than anything you would be able to take yourself. There is also a kids version, called ‘The Boy King and I’, and an official souvenir magazine, which is on sale for £15. The shop also displays a replica of the famous death mask, made by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
New to the exhibition, is a Virtual Reality Experience called 'Enter the Tomb', where visitors can fly through a photo realistic version of Tutankhamun’s tomb as Howard Carter and his financier Lord Carnarvon found it 100 years ago. It is in Gallery 7, which is upstairs, and costs £15.50 per person. The experience lasts about 7-10 minutes, and you can buy tickets for it in the shop.
The exhibition gets extremely crowded, and it takes some perseverence to get close to the objects. It is well worth the effort though.
Is the Exhibition suitable for kids?:
I did see some brave souls taking young children around the exhibition, who were clearly fascinated by the exhibits. However, the sheer volume of the crowds and the crush of people, means it is not for the faint of heart. I would chose your time carefully, keep a tight hold of them if they are young, or arrange a meet up point in case of getting lost for the older ones. There is a pushchair park next to the cloakroom, as pushchairs are not allowed in the exhibition.
More things to see and do in London
- Dennis Severs House: Silent Night Tour through 200 Years of London History
- Battle of Britain Bunker: Inside the Room Where History Was Made
- Steelyard: London's Hanseatic Trading Post
- London Wall Walk: The Roman and Medieval Wall
More on Ancient Egypt in England
Boston: Opens 13 June 2020
Finally the news Bostonians have been waiting for! It was announced on the morning of 14 January that the King Tut exhibition will open at the Saunders Castle in Park Plaza.
As yet a closing date has not been announced, just the opening date. It is likely to be around six months, coordinating with the renovations at the Australian Museum in Sydney, where the touring exhibition is due in the first half of 2021.
Based on the demand for tickets at previous venues, where there have been sellout attendances, the Boston exhibition will use a lottery system to issue tickets. Already, it has been stated that each registration will be limited to four tickets. This is due to begin in March 2020, and hopeful exhibition goers are encouraged to register on the Official Website.
Sydney: Australian Museum, 6 months in 2021
In June 2018 it was announced that the Australian Museum in Sydney would receive 50 million Australian dollars to enable the museum to host major international exhibitions. Existing storage space will be refurbished to allow the international touring exhibition halls to be expanded significantly. Besides a new exhibition space, education facilities and other amenities will be created to increase visitor numbers. The transformed Australian Museum will be ready to host the touring Tutankhamun treasures exhibition early in 2021.
The Tutankhamun exhibition is a game-changer for Sydney and Australia. Sydney is the major cultural city in the Pacific/South East Asian region, and the significant upgrades to the Australian Museum will ensure we have world-class museum exhibition spaces for visitors to our State as well as residents to enjoy. Don Harwin, New South Wales Minister for the Arts
Paris: Grande Halle de la Villette, 23 March to 15 September 2019
The first stop of the European leg for the exhibition was Paris and the Grande Halle de la Villette. The Grande Halle is situated in the Parc de la Villette, the third-largest park in Paris. The park has one of the largest concentrations of cultural venues in Paris, the Grande Halle being one of them. Built between 1865 and 1867, this striking cast iron and glass building was until the mid 1970s an abattoir. Now a popular venue for trade fairs, exhibitions and music festivals.
Visitors to the Paris edition of the King Tut exhibition were also treated to a statue from the Louvre's collection: their statue of the god Amun protecting Tutankhamun. The diorite statue was found in 1857 during excavations in Karnak by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette (Read More).
When the exhibition closed on 22 September 1,432,170 people had seen "Tutankhamun: The Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" during its six month run in Paris. Not only was this an increase on the previous Tutankhamun exhibition in the French capital (1967), it is also a new turn-out record for cultural exhibitions in France.