Will the Real King Tut Please Stand Up

I love history, so I jumped at the chance to visit the King Tut exhibit called "The Discovery of King Tut" on 5th Avenue. It's in the same location where the Saturday Night Live exhibit, is, which I visited this past summer. I had expected to see long lines which have always been the case with previous Tut exhibits; I had seen it in New York and South Florida before and it took hours to get in.

 But on Monday afternoon, I walked right in and there were only a handful of other people there. Similar to the SNL exhibit, life-like sets (in this case dioramas) and videos were the theme. You first enter and see an interesting movie on how Tut was found; with the story of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. I read the story of them many years ago when I was a boy, and it's always fascinating.

From the movie, we then moved from diorama to diorama. We had earphones and the story was told as we viewed the golden finds. The items were right there, you could touch them if you wanted. I really enjoyed it.

At one point, they showed the sarcophagi after showing a video on a screen which was blocking the sarcophagi and other items, I thought the screen would rise so that we could see it better, but it didn't, so I moved on to the next exhibit. When that ended, I asked the attendant present about the sarcophagi, I wanted to take a photo and I asked when it would be lit up and talked about again, she said any minute. I had told her that it was hard to get a photo with the screen in front of the items. She said, "Don't worry, you'll see them in better light again downstairs."

I asked her, "How can we see them again? They are here, how can they be there?" By then, a few of the other patrons came over to listen. She told me that they were recreations. Recreations? I was a bit stunned, I remember when I saw the exhibit last, about ten years ago, the golden mask was not there and we felt cheated, but now the sarcophagi were not there? These were recreations?

As I moved on, assuming that everything else was real, one of the other patrons asked about the whole exhibit, and to our horror, we were told that everything was a reproduction! Everything! We all gasped at once. We felt we were being punked. I felt sucker punched. I can't explain the feeling, but it was quite disappointing and a bit of feeling foolish at the same time.

The attendant thought she made it all better by repeating more than once that, "These items took six years to reproduce." SIX years, she stressed the "SIX" more than once. We all started at her. Was she kidding?

Again, she stressed the six year process of making the reproductions. I got angry and I told her we had come to see the 3000 year old version and with that, we all stopped what we were doing and headed toward the exit.

What a disappointment. I am assuming that people knew it was a fake otherwise the place would be crawling with patrons. It was just us few that fell for it. These would all be best featured at an art gallery, I'm thinking. Not at a museum exhibit.

My only excitement of the day was seeing the Weekend Update set from SNL as I exited. I must have missed it on my summer tour, so it was exciting to see. At least the SNL sets and props are real. Right? Hello? Right? They're real, right?