Brussels Expo is currently hosting this great exhibit. I’m very interested in Egyptology, so I was in as soon as I saw the posters around the city. Some people recommended this, either from seeing it themselves or from friends who went to see it.
Should you go watch this exhibit? Sure, I was not extremely impressed, but I liked it a lot and definitely worth the entrance fee
The exhibit takes you through the treasures found at Tutankhamun’s tomb and provides a great account of the search for this tomb, Howard Carter’s life and journey (he discovered the tomb), and the little known story, up to the point of the tomb’s discovery, of the boy King.
You are greeted by a nice person who checks your ticket and directs you to the lobby. In the lobby you have a stand for the audio guides, a cafetaria, and access to the gift shop. The audio guide is free and luckily if you don’t speak Dutch or French, available in English.
When you enter the exhibit, you are first directed to a “waiting area” which has some informational areas about Egypt, Howard Carter, and the discovery of the tomb. There is a replica of the dig (see picture below) and a statue of Tutankhamun.
Here’s one of the downsides of the exhibit: every single written poster, board, display, is in either Dutch and French, so you will miss some of these explanations because the audio guide does not cover most of the boards, only the displays related to the dig and the statue. You have to wait in this area until the next viewing begins.
The exhibits consists of a series of videos illustrating the story of Tutankhamun, his ancestors, Howard Carter, and the dig. You then move on to a couple of displays of how the tomb was discovered, and then you move on to the exhibit where you can discover each of the objects found in the tomb.
The videos were well executed and very interesting to watch. Now, I had my headset on and the audioguide started automatically. But no one mentioned this and I didn’t see any signs about this anywhere. So maybe some people may have missed the beginning. (snaps of the video screens below)
There are some areas in this guided part of the tour where the sitting arrangements kind of suck. You have about 3 to 4 benches which can probably sit 10 people, tops. You may end up standing in front of the extremly tall (or let’s say “heavy-set) idiot who cannot possibly move a centimeter to allow others to see. He is too comfortable there. Again, at least the videos are nice.
There is not enough time if you want to take pictures of the displays of how the tomb was found. The lights go out rather quickly to be able to take pictures. No flash photography is allowed during the exhibit. Here are some blurry shots anyway!
We finally get to the exhibit of the artifacts. The displays are awesome, you get to have a very upclose experience with the objects and children have a blast because they can touch them (although a bunch of parents scold their kids when they do, hahaha!) I wanted to take some nice pictures, so I had to wait a while before people would clear the area a bit. It’s a very popular exhibit, so there will be crowds, no matter when you go. I can imagine the weekend maybe worse. Below are some pictures I manage to take of the bigger pieces when people started walking away:
The artifacts exhibit area is,however; easy to get around, there is enough space to move back and forth, so you don’t really have to go on a specific path. The downside of this is, it is not clear what number to press for the audio guide where. I missed a bunch of audio commentary because of this. And again, text on the displays was only in Dutch and French. It’s a real pity because I noticed some things in these text boards was not mentioned in the audio guide. More pictures below of some of the artifacts. Lots of bling!
Overall, it’s a good exhibit I can recommend. If you are not a fan of crowds, you are definitely not going to like it much, but I think you can overcome this by focusing on the story and the objects. Please note, you are looking at replicas and not the real thing. Still, these replicas are pretty impressive and I’m sure they may cost close to the real thing! Check these ones below:
Paola’s mood after watching this exhibit: