...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Egyptian Stuff

We finally got to the Tutenkhamun exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art this Sunday. To get in is like trying to get into Fort Knox, I swear. You need to order the tickets in advance, you need to choose a time slot that you MUST be there for on time, the only place to get the tickets from is online at the dreaded monopoly called Ticketmaster, and they cost a friggin' fortune. But as I am a half-baked classicist with two semesters of egyptology under my belt, this was a must-see.
So then you get there, on time, pay the EXORBITANT parking fee that downtown Dallas charges on a Sunday (they ask for a full day's fee as opposed to per hour JUST for this), walk to the side entrance of the museum, and get greeted by two huge booths saying 'Ticket Sales'.


Oh. this is the 'in case we have leftovers but there's no guarantee' line? Okay, that's better than the momentary feeling of 'I've just been had' that run through me there for a full ten seconds.

So you show your printout tickets, they let you through first all the way to the museum so you can check your coat, visit the restroom (no coats allowed, no restrooms or walk-outs while in the exhibit, so this is a must), they check your purse, and then you WALK BACK through one of those mazes like they set up at airport checkins, show your ticket again but this time they SCAN it so you're official, you go BACK to the museum again, you are directed to a line here to WAIT until they allow the next bunch of sheeple in...

Did I mention Fort Knox? Actually, I kept silently chuckling because it was almost like you wanted to see the real, live Son of the Sun God in Ancient Egypt, almost... Except we had more clothes on.

In the first room, they show a two-minute video to the shepherded in flock, narrated by none other but Omar Sharif. The Husband just was tickled pink by that: 'So they got him to do this type of stuff now?' he asked. Obviously he never heard him narrating the six other Ancient Egypt DVDs that are out there.

The rest of the exhibit is very tastefully arranged pretty objects and spacious text placed in rooms, a lot of people walking around with those annoying earphone-shaped audio guides set so loud that you can hear it from all directions, slightly stuffy air, benches to sit and rest a bit (thankfully!), and did I mention that they have pretty objects? I emphasize this because after all, those would be the major draw, right? Well, most of them are rather small, although exquisite... and from the actual artefacts from the tomb, a very small and select amount is presented only. I kind of expected at least one of the funerary masks, or the coffins... but no such luck.

Don't get me wrong--a bunch of the things they had there are so beautiful and lovely that is jaw-dropping. Like the perfectly preserved chair of Princess Sitamun that has the inundation of her royal behind actually visible on the woven seat if you look from a certain angle, or one of the less-known and fragmentary busts of Nefertiti that simply knocks your socks off with her cheekbones and chin. Or some of the jewellery. But still, I expected maybe a tad more meat on those royal bones.

Oh, and the gift shop... They had mummy finger puppets that again, The Husband had a mightly chuckle about, whle I was eyeing a row of hats such as Zahi Hawass is wearing on his excavations (he's my hero, by the way). But I think the inflatable mummy made in China still took the cake. Oh wait, no, it was the plastic/gold colored wig thing the family leaving the exhibit took turns with by the 'Have your name written in hieroglyphs on a piece of metal' machine to have their photographs taken.


At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

When I lived in Germany as a kid (1979 I think) I got to see the Tutenkhamun exhibit at a museum near Bitburg with the entire 2nd grade class. I remember some of it - but not a lot. I do remember that there was not high security - we were a fairly well behaved group of Air Force brats, but still, it was pretty easy to look at the exhibits which only had glass between us and them. I do remember the gold headress vividly though.
I wonder how much more I would observe and get now if I were able to see it again. I'll have to keep an eye out for when it comes to the SW Ohio region.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Annamaria said...

Yep, the headdress is pretty amazing still. The security guys had to yell at folks almost in every room though to keep their paws off the glass.
Not sure where the exhibit goes after Dallas, but I am sure they have the schedule up somewhere on the Internets.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Looks like Indianapolis in June 2009 is the closest it will get for me anytime soon.

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Convivialdingo said...

It's interesting that security is so high. I remember tromping through quite a bit of the Egyptian exhibits at the Louvre without so much as having my backpack eyed.


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