Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

AGO Members share their reactions to King Tut (Video)

December 22nd, 2009

“My favorite part of the exhibition was probably the jewelry and the remnants from the tombs — they’re interesting,” … “My favorite was the cat coffin,” … “I really enjoyed the last part of the exhibition where they talked about the uncovering of the grave and the tomb and the gold,” …

Update Jan 6:

Here’s some images from King Tut Crowds

  • http://www.threetowers.ca Al Leong

    I saw the King Tut Exhibit at the AGO.

    I was entertained, and educated. It was thoughtI provoking actually.

    I took the audio tour and it was very storytelling-like, if not a bit dated. At first, i thought wow, flashback to the 50s with the radio-tone speak. I adjusted to it and it became fun. Like hearing an old news broadcast. I heard they had very tight security with AK47s guarding the goods.

    The gold King Tut vessel holding his heart or internal organs was stunning. Many items were behind clear glass and had a precious glow and aura, like the Mona Lisa behind glass. It was remarkably simple, easy to read and elegant.

    The message i took away was the depth of the civilization and wealth. The entrapments of wealth, power and societal architecture and the mystery behind a young kings death. I wish I had more time to learn about the details because I think it has a lot of messages of history that can remind us of our current path in society and make adjustments.

    There were jewels and necklaces and hyroglyph symbols that we still use today… as metaphors of life, wealth, spirituality (god, deities, etc.) that remind us of why King Tut was inspirational but somehow ominous or fatally flawed.

    Then I left, purchased a heavy book and momentos, and walked through the rest of the gallery…. the contrast of the AGO curator was quite smart…. walking from power and glory to Canadian Group of 7 works was quite refreshing. then to other more modern wealth, nature and civilization pieces of art actually told a story and highlighted the King Tut experience.

    I think the production and exhibit team did a great job. Check it out, it is definitely worth the cost of a movie and different, rich experience.

  • http://www.threetowers.ca Al Leong

    I saw the King Tut Exhibit at the AGO.

    I was entertained, and educated. It was thoughtI provoking actually.

    I took the audio tour and it was very storytelling-like, if not a bit dated. At first, i thought wow, flashback to the 50s with the radio-tone speak. I adjusted to it and it became fun. Like hearing an old news broadcast. I heard they had very tight security with AK47s guarding the goods.

    The gold King Tut vessel holding his heart or internal organs was stunning. Many items were behind clear glass and had a precious glow and aura, like the Mona Lisa behind glass. It was remarkably simple, easy to read and elegant.

    The message i took away was the depth of the civilization and wealth. The entrapments of wealth, power and societal architecture and the mystery behind a young kings death. I wish I had more time to learn about the details because I think it has a lot of messages of history that can remind us of our current path in society and make adjustments.

    There were jewels and necklaces and hyroglyph symbols that we still use today… as metaphors of life, wealth, spirituality (god, deities, etc.) that remind us of why King Tut was inspirational but somehow ominous or fatally flawed.

    Then I left, purchased a heavy book and momentos, and walked through the rest of the gallery…. the contrast of the AGO curator was quite smart…. walking from power and glory to Canadian Group of 7 works was quite refreshing. then to other more modern wealth, nature and civilization pieces of art actually told a story and highlighted the King Tut experience.

    I think the production and exhibit team did a great job. Check it out, it is definitely worth the cost of a movie and different, rich experience.

  • http://susandreams@hotmail.com Susan Stewart

    i was really disappointed with the exhibition quite frankly,

    it was really badly done, where was Tut??? The commercial and posters around town shows a picture of Tut’s sarcoughagus but it failed to make it in the AGO.. lucky him…

    the room in the video was the last one ya, but the movie builds up and says for u to enter the greatest riches of the tomb but there was no Tut sarcoughagus and golden throne etc.. it just ends with a stupid statue and makes u realize all the excited you went for due to false promises was naturally a disappointment. The AGO went really cheap on this one. :(

    I did hear that the Dead Sea Scrolls at the ROM have a better display and actually contain the scrolls so i think i’ll go there instead

  • Art Gallery of Ontario

    Susan,

    Sorry you’re disappointed, but no Tut? This exhibition has more than 100 artifacts from ancient Egypt, 50 alone coming from the tomb of Tutankhamun, each hand picked by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities to tell a specific story. The King Tut collection is only a small part of the treasures that were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb, as it is impossible to tour the entire collection. Tutankhamun’s body has never left Egypt, and remains in his tomb, along with his outer sarcophagus. The Egyptian government has determined that both are far too fragile to travel. Indeed, neither has ever left Egypt.

    The image used for all of our advertising (and so identified) is the canopic coffinette, which held the stomach Tutankhamun. This artifact is considered the centre piece of the exhibition. We’ve made every effort to inform the public that the mummy and sarcophagus are not part of the exhibition and we have not advertised otherwise. You can find this information on the AGO site and the exhibition’s website. Advertising for this exhibition is a challenge, as all items depicting Tutankhamun in death look similar. We would never mislead any guest coming to the exhibition with expectations that we cannot meet.

    As for the “stupid statue” at the conclusion of the exhibition, this colossal sculpture is the largest rendering of King Tut ever discovered, and is one of the more popular pieces in the exhibition.

    A portion of proceeds from this exhibition return to Egypt for the building of a new museum in Cairo to permanently house these relics. This is the last time they will be in Canada.

  • Y. Hess

    I must say I have to agree with ‘disappointed’. Yes, there were many beautiful and magnificent pieces however, the point is this was being touted as a KING TUT exhibit – not ‘Various-pieces-from-several-tombs’. Where was the King Tut in your King Tut exhibit? Golden sandals? While they are extraordinary it was not what was expected. I always regretted missing the original one in the 70′s when I was a kid and this left me regretting it even more.

  • Y. Hess

    I must say I have to agree with ‘disappointed’. Yes, there were many beautiful and magnificent pieces however, the point is this was being touted as a KING TUT exhibit – not ‘Various-pieces-from-several-tombs’. Where was the King Tut in your King Tut exhibit? Golden sandals? While they are extraordinary it was not what was expected. I always regretted missing the original one in the 70′s when I was a kid and this left me regretting it even more.

  • Bev Sayers

    I was at the AGO on Sunday, January 10th. I also thought that King Tut would be there, but not really disappointed that he wasn’t. The other exhibits were absolutely breathtaking. My jaw dropped as I was looking at all the items, thinking about how old they were, the history, who touched these, who wored this! Absolutely fantastic. I have always had an interest in this. BRAVO for all the people who did the organizing, setting up the displays, and giving us the opportunity to see these treasures. Thank you.

  • Bev Sayers

    I was at the AGO on Sunday, January 10th. I also thought that King Tut would be there, but not really disappointed that he wasn’t. The other exhibits were absolutely breathtaking. My jaw dropped as I was looking at all the items, thinking about how old they were, the history, who touched these, who wored this! Absolutely fantastic. I have always had an interest in this. BRAVO for all the people who did the organizing, setting up the displays, and giving us the opportunity to see these treasures. Thank you.

  • christine

    Everthing was quite beautiful in the Egyptian collection but, as they alway say, the customer is always right and should never be criticized or corrected for their opinion; and in Susan’s case, she is right even though she may be a bit blunt about it.

    When I heard the advertisements about “The Boy King arriving to the AGO after 30 years,” and seeing the golden “canopic coffinette” being advertised, I also definitely was not aware that it was NOT the actual sarcophagus that I had seen here 30 years ago since it has been englarged so much that it is definitely misleading everyone. It may have been mentioned or written somewhere in your advertisements very discretely that it is the tiny coffinnette that carried Tut’s stomach but, you are very aware of how this misleading advertisment is attracting people to come and pay a lot of money only to be extremely disappointed.

    I do agree with Susan asking, “Where is King Tut?” There certainly was some beautiful artifacts but, there was not enough flavour of King Tutankhamun to advertise this exhibit as Tutankhamum. I wonder if the head of Nefertiti was too sacred to bring also, or maybe it is in another museum in North America? I do understand why the sarcophagus cannot leave Egypt anymore and of course his mummy is too delicate but, you should not call this a Tutankhamun exhibit. It was very dissapointing for me and for my handicapped mother which I drove all the way from Hamilton with.

    Please accept my comments as completely honest and sincere. I suppose I was comparing my experiences when I had gone on a trip to Greece several years ago with my parents and had seen all the ancient relics inside and in the museums of Delphi, Ancient Olympia, The Acropolis, ancient Mycenae, ancient Byzantium, and the museum portion of the Palace of the Sultan (Topkapi Palace)in Istanbul, Turkey. Everything was breathtaking and I even have pictures of everything!
    I remember seeing a flower necklace in the Delphi museum. Afterwards they took us to a jewellery store and my mother bought me a 14K gold museum copy of it with a matching bracelet.

    Maybe my next ancient adventure will be Egypt and I think it is very nice of the AGO to give Egypt some proceeds for the new museum in Cairo.

  • christine

    Everthing was quite beautiful in the Egyptian collection but, as they alway say, the customer is always right and should never be criticized or corrected for their opinion; and in Susan’s case, she is right even though she may be a bit blunt about it.

    When I heard the advertisements about “The Boy King arriving to the AGO after 30 years,” and seeing the golden “canopic coffinette” being advertised, I also definitely was not aware that it was NOT the actual sarcophagus that I had seen here 30 years ago since it has been englarged so much that it is definitely misleading everyone. It may have been mentioned or written somewhere in your advertisements very discretely that it is the tiny coffinnette that carried Tut’s stomach but, you are very aware of how this misleading advertisment is attracting people to come and pay a lot of money only to be extremely disappointed.

    I do agree with Susan asking, “Where is King Tut?” There certainly was some beautiful artifacts but, there was not enough flavour of King Tutankhamun to advertise this exhibit as Tutankhamum. I wonder if the head of Nefertiti was too sacred to bring also, or maybe it is in another museum in North America? I do understand why the sarcophagus cannot leave Egypt anymore and of course his mummy is too delicate but, you should not call this a Tutankhamun exhibit. It was very dissapointing for me and for my handicapped mother which I drove all the way from Hamilton with.

    Please accept my comments as completely honest and sincere. I suppose I was comparing my experiences when I had gone on a trip to Greece several years ago with my parents and had seen all the ancient relics inside and in the museums of Delphi, Ancient Olympia, The Acropolis, ancient Mycenae, ancient Byzantium, and the museum portion of the Palace of the Sultan (Topkapi Palace)in Istanbul, Turkey. Everything was breathtaking and I even have pictures of everything!
    I remember seeing a flower necklace in the Delphi museum. Afterwards they took us to a jewellery store and my mother bought me a 14K gold museum copy of it with a matching bracelet.

    Maybe my next ancient adventure will be Egypt and I think it is very nice of the AGO to give Egypt some proceeds for the new museum in Cairo.

  • AJ

    I went to the exhibit yesterday and I must say I was quite impressed. I was told the mummy would be there by a tour guide. I was disappointed when i got to the last room and saw a sign indicating the tour was over. When I questioned where the mummy was, I was told it was not part of the tour….and get his……..the mummy has only left Cairo once. It has only left Cairo briefly for the CT scan. Now, this leaves me confused. I was at the previous Tut exhibit in Toronto years ago and I swear, I remember seeing a mummy in a glass case. I remember it because part of the foot was exposed and you could see the skin on the foot. It looked very thin and fragile, but wow there was very well preserved skin. Does anyone else remember seeing this? All these years I’ve been thinking I had seen the actual mummy of King Tut…the realization that what I had seen wasn’t…….now that was a disappointment. Does anyone know whose mummy was on display at the last King Tut exhibit in Torornto?

  • AJ

    I went to the exhibit yesterday and I must say I was quite impressed. I was told the mummy would be there by a tour guide. I was disappointed when i got to the last room and saw a sign indicating the tour was over. When I questioned where the mummy was, I was told it was not part of the tour….and get his……..the mummy has only left Cairo once. It has only left Cairo briefly for the CT scan. Now, this leaves me confused. I was at the previous Tut exhibit in Toronto years ago and I swear, I remember seeing a mummy in a glass case. I remember it because part of the foot was exposed and you could see the skin on the foot. It looked very thin and fragile, but wow there was very well preserved skin. Does anyone else remember seeing this? All these years I’ve been thinking I had seen the actual mummy of King Tut…the realization that what I had seen wasn’t…….now that was a disappointment. Does anyone know whose mummy was on display at the last King Tut exhibit in Torornto?

  • dianne

    I went to the AGO, on january 16 2010 in hopes of seeing King Tut…Although I was very impresed with the artifacts I saw, my family and I were very dissappointed that he wasn’t there..I feel that there was alot of false advertising involved here…Shame of you for luring people in to spending alot of money to come see KING TUT…and as for the gift shop…well don’t even get me started..Oh and what does the boy King returning to Toronto mean to you?

  • dianne

    I went to the AGO, on january 16 2010 in hopes of seeing King Tut…Although I was very impresed with the artifacts I saw, my family and I were very dissappointed that he wasn’t there..I feel that there was alot of false advertising involved here…Shame of you for luring people in to spending alot of money to come see KING TUT…and as for the gift shop…well don’t even get me started..Oh and what does the boy King returning to Toronto mean to you?

  • George

    Well I’m sorry I don’t have a response for AJ above. I wanted to simply comment on the poor behaviour of the AGO in its pathetic attempt to exercise “damage control” over Susan’s comments above (see Jan 12th, 2010 12:28 pm comment). Whether her comment should be perceived as “blunt” or not, the response was no better. In fact, rather than respond defensively (or at all), management might simply want to quietly reflect on how it might improve its communications on exhibits such as this with the public in the future. Might I suggest this is what should occur as a result of having a transparent feedback process such as this, and is part of good business practice? As for considering feedback directly to an individual, please provide it directly to them via their private e-mail (which you’ve requested on this site), and do so in a manner more becoming of an institution apparently deserving of an “excellent” designation, rather trying to publicly flog patrons for honest comments.

  • George

    Well I’m sorry I don’t have a response for AJ above. I wanted to simply comment on the poor behaviour of the AGO in its pathetic attempt to exercise “damage control” over Susan’s comments above (see Jan 12th, 2010 12:28 pm comment). Whether her comment should be perceived as “blunt” or not, the response was no better. In fact, rather than respond defensively (or at all), management might simply want to quietly reflect on how it might improve its communications on exhibits such as this with the public in the future. Might I suggest this is what should occur as a result of having a transparent feedback process such as this, and is part of good business practice? As for considering feedback directly to an individual, please provide it directly to them via their private e-mail (which you’ve requested on this site), and do so in a manner more becoming of an institution apparently deserving of an “excellent” designation, rather trying to publicly flog patrons for honest comments.

  • Catherine MacInnes

    Had a great time. Went twice, once alone and back again with a friend. What a trip back in time. Enjoyed the exhibit and had a delicious lunch. One day, I will travel to Egypt to see much more of this history.

  • Catherine MacInnes

    Had a great time. Went twice, once alone and back again with a friend. What a trip back in time. Enjoyed the exhibit and had a delicious lunch. One day, I will travel to Egypt to see much more of this history.

  • joshua

    I don’t know one person who is aware that Tut ISN’T in the exhibit. Of course everybody is disappointed. Very misleading adverts for this.
    I would have gone even with the knowledge that he wouldn’t be there. But as it is, it was an anti-climactic experience. Though a tad hilarious to watch the “wtf” faces and the mumblings that the center piece was a wall mounted HD screen.
    I too am disappointed.

    And now that I think about it, I feel a bit naive for thinking TUT would ho himself out to any museum in the world. Thanks for putting naivety on display, AGO.

    I’m going to hang out at wikipedia.

  • joshua

    I don’t know one person who is aware that Tut ISN’T in the exhibit. Of course everybody is disappointed. Very misleading adverts for this.
    I would have gone even with the knowledge that he wouldn’t be there. But as it is, it was an anti-climactic experience. Though a tad hilarious to watch the “wtf” faces and the mumblings that the center piece was a wall mounted HD screen.
    I too am disappointed.

    And now that I think about it, I feel a bit naive for thinking TUT would ho himself out to any museum in the world. Thanks for putting naivety on display, AGO.

    I’m going to hang out at wikipedia.

  • Anna

    I went to see the exhibition yesterday. I too felt disappointed when I reached a sign that read “end of tour”. I thought somehow I missed the sarcophagus. I was at the exhibition in the late 70′s. I was a young teen who had recently arrived in Toronto from Spain. At that time the mummy wasn’t there and I was a bit disappointed. What teen doesn’t want to see the mummy! This time I did not expect the mummy but I did expect the sarcophagus…that is the center piece. I saw it back then at the ROM and was expected to see it again. I still enjoyed the exhibition but I would have enjoyed it more if I had known what to expect. However, had I known the sarcophagus wasn’t there, I may have gone somewhere else.

  • Anna

    I went to see the exhibition yesterday. I too felt disappointed when I reached a sign that read “end of tour”. I thought somehow I missed the sarcophagus. I was at the exhibition in the late 70′s. I was a young teen who had recently arrived in Toronto from Spain. At that time the mummy wasn’t there and I was a bit disappointed. What teen doesn’t want to see the mummy! This time I did not expect the mummy but I did expect the sarcophagus…that is the center piece. I saw it back then at the ROM and was expected to see it again. I still enjoyed the exhibition but I would have enjoyed it more if I had known what to expect. However, had I known the sarcophagus wasn’t there, I may have gone somewhere else.

  • Elaine

    Also wanted to voice my disappointment after viewing this exhibition today. No actual King Tut in the exhibition, but in the gift shop, you could purchase a tissue box resembling his death mask – called “Tut-Choo” for $35. (The kleenex dispenses out of its nose.) Did Dr. Hawass also “hand-pick” that piece for the gift shop as well?

    Yet another reason why I won’t be renewing my membership.

  • Elaine

    Also wanted to voice my disappointment after viewing this exhibition today. No actual King Tut in the exhibition, but in the gift shop, you could purchase a tissue box resembling his death mask – called “Tut-Choo” for $35. (The kleenex dispenses out of its nose.) Did Dr. Hawass also “hand-pick” that piece for the gift shop as well?

    Yet another reason why I won’t be renewing my membership.

  • Kimberly Moore

    WOW! I have been just pumped about seeing King Tut’s exibit in TO. but after reading the above reviews I’m second guessing my choice. Now I know Tut won’t be there as I watch enough of the history channel to know Tut will never leave Egypt but it would be nice to see his artifacts up close. I was given a set of Tut bath towels in 1980 as a wedding gift ( my cousin was lucky enough to go to the first exibit in TO.) I still have both of them and they are one of my most cherrished possesions even after 30 years. He enjoyed that show so much and talked about it for years so when the ads said this exibit had more artifacts that the last it only made me want to go more. I hope the prearrangements I have to make along with the cost of the hotel etc. in Toronto are not a waste of money and maybe the above comments were made by people who don’t appreciate the length of time these artifacts have survived and the workmanship put into them thousands of years ago. So when it comes down to it I will be there but will keep the anticipation lowkey as to not be as dissipointed as Susan was. But there was more to King Tut than his body, there was mystery and beauty!
    sincerly Can’t wait to see Tut.

  • Kimberly Moore

    WOW! I have been just pumped about seeing King Tut’s exibit in TO. but after reading the above reviews I’m second guessing my choice. Now I know Tut won’t be there as I watch enough of the history channel to know Tut will never leave Egypt but it would be nice to see his artifacts up close. I was given a set of Tut bath towels in 1980 as a wedding gift ( my cousin was lucky enough to go to the first exibit in TO.) I still have both of them and they are one of my most cherrished possesions even after 30 years. He enjoyed that show so much and talked about it for years so when the ads said this exibit had more artifacts that the last it only made me want to go more. I hope the prearrangements I have to make along with the cost of the hotel etc. in Toronto are not a waste of money and maybe the above comments were made by people who don’t appreciate the length of time these artifacts have survived and the workmanship put into them thousands of years ago. So when it comes down to it I will be there but will keep the anticipation lowkey as to not be as dissipointed as Susan was. But there was more to King Tut than his body, there was mystery and beauty!
    sincerly Can’t wait to see Tut.