King Tut exhibit at Charles H. Wright Museum lifts lid on boy ruler's opulent tomb

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

He ruled more than 3,000 years ago, a largely insignificant leader in Egypt's vast history, and yet we still know his name today: King Tut.

Tutankhamun, his formal name, was just 9 years old when he ascended to Egypt's throne, ruling from 1333 BCE until his death in 1323 BCE. He's better known for his incredible tomb, discovered largely intact by a British archaeologist in 1922. 

Replicas of what was found in that tomb will be on display as part of an exhibition, "King Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb" that opened Monday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Previously on display more than a decade ago at the Wright, it runs this time until Aug. 22. 

A 3,000-year-old stone sculpture depicts famed boy pharaoh Tutankhamun. This sculpture won't be on display at the new exhibition opening at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History but 120 replicas of items found in his tomb will be.

Tickets to the Wright are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children 3-12.

The exhibition, presented in part by the Rocket Community Fund, falls just months short of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tut's tomb in early November 1922 in Egypt's famed Valley of the Kings. The exhibit's name is taken from archaeologist Howard Carter and what he said about first seeing inside the tomb of Egypt's "boy ruler."

"As my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold... when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?,' it was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things,'" said Carter.

As was tradition at the time, Tut's body was mummified after his death. He was buried in a tomb filled with artwork, jewelry and treasures. Shifting desert sands quickly covered the tomb, and it lay mostly hidden for more than 3,000 years, according to National Geographic.

The exhibition is divided into five sections: an introduction to Ancient Egypt; the archeological discovery; The Private Pharaoh; The Public Pharaoh; and The Royal Burial.

It features more than 120 replicas of Pharaoh Tut’s "sacred and personal possessions," including the golden Canopic Shrine, a chariot, the iconic golden mummy case, his throne, child’s chair, embalming couch, bed, jewelry, funerary mask and the bejeweled royal mummy.

"These objects are examples of the opulent life the young Pharaoh enjoyed in life and in death," according to the Wright's website.

'King Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb'

Through Aug. 22 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

For ticket information and hours, go to