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Despite Egypt unrest, King Tut's U.S. tour toddles on

February 01, 2011|By Christopher Reynolds | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Head and shoulder detail of King Tut coffinette, one of many objects on exhibit.
Head and shoulder detail of King Tut coffinette, one of many objects on exhibit. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Amid the violent upheaval in Egypt that has sent visitors packing, one key element in the Egyptian tourism trade is still in business: King Tut on tour.

Since 1922, when archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered Tutankhamen’s tomb, Americans have been fascinated by ancient Egypt, and Egypt has periodically capitalized by sending artifacts on museum tours.

From 1976 to 1979, a small collection of treasures from the tomb of the "boy king," who reigned from 1333-23 BC, traveled to seven U.S. cities, drawing 8 million visitors, ushering in a new museum era of “blockbuster” shows and inspiring a hit single by comedian Steve Martin.

Now another tour, “Tutankhamun: The Gold King and The Great Pharaohs,” has attracted more than 4 million visitors. Having just finished a nine-month run Jan. 17 in New York’s Times Square at the Discovery Times Square Exhibition center, it is scheduled to open Feb. 18 at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

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