King Tut and his treasures have come to the Rialto Exhibition Center in the form of cultured marble, alabaster and wood.
"Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things From the Pharaoh's Tomb" opens today and runs until May 1. It features more than 130 replicas from The Origins Museum Institute, which created the traveling exhibit.
"We think it appeals to a broad range of people, from schoolchildren to adults, because it is interactive and a part of our human history," said Don Martin, managing member of Rialto Art & Antiquities.
A quick history lesson on the ancient Egyptians: They buried their royal dead in large rooms filled with treasures, in hopes the luxurious objects would travel with them to the afterlife. The King Tut exhibit features objects that would have been found in the young pharaoh's tomb when he was buried: golden chairs, weapons, jewelry and other hand-crafted riches.
The objects are all "cast to look like the real thing, with the flaws and all," said Marty Martin, curator from The Origins Museum Institute.
Why go see imitation artifacts? "You save money on the trip to Egypt to see the real thing," Marty Martin said.
Fifty-five authentic pieces from Tut's tomb toured the United States, Canada, Japan, France, England, West Germany and the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1981. But wear and tear on the priceless objects made it a one-time tour and opened the door to the reproduction of those artifacts and others.
Some of the replicas came from the Metropolitan Museum of the Art, and some were commissioned from the Pharaonic Village, a living museum near Cairo that reproduces ancient Egyptian life.
Because the objects in the traveling exhibit are not authentic, they do not have to be protected by glass cases, and so "people can really experience them," Marty Martin said.
"People can actually breathe and live within the exhibit."
A tour guide will lead the audience with a narration of the pharaoh's life from birth until death.
The exhibit's stop in Tucson was put together quickly. As the Titanic moved out of the Rialto Exhibition Center, King Tut moved in, "and we have been working nonstop since," Don Martin said.
If you go
"Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things From the Pharaoh's Tomb"
• When: Today through May 1. Hours today are 2 to 6 p.m. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 to 6 p.m. Sundays. It will be closed April 9-10, 15-17.
• Where: The Rialto Building, 300 E. Congress St.
• Cost: $18 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6 to 16 (age 5 and under free), $14 for college students with identification, $14 for age 55 and up. See the website for group rates.
• Presented by: Rialto Art and Antiquities.
• More information: www.raadtucson.com or 622-8595.
McKenzie Sheldon is a University of Arizona student who is apprenticing at the Star. Contact her at 573-4128 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.