Although as a family we are passionate about Nature and Wildlife our secondary passion is history and particularly Ancient History and cultures. Of them, the one that fascinates us the most is Ancient Egypt. We’ve read fiction books about Ancient Egypt, created our own Cartouches and learnt about the history in school but NOTHING can beat seeing it in person. The Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is on its third stage of a 10 city round the world tour and is at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
We received tickets to visit the exhibition on a family press day.
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery London
Let me start out by saying that I have seen some of the artefacts of Tutankhamun twice the first time as a 19-year-old at the Cairo museum when I backpacked around the country and then at the 02 in London in 2007.
But, neither of those is anything like Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi gallery. In fact, I’ve already put in a holiday request with the kids and husband to visit Egypt when the new Cairo museum opens because if it’s anything like the Tutankhamun in London this time it’s going to be spectacular.
The exhibit holds 150 of the artefacts that were found by Howard Carter in Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings almost 100 years ago. Many of these have never been out of Egypt before.
Museum’s and exhibitions can sometimes be dry and boring for kids. But with an exhibit that has video, audio, reading and the most amazing collection of ancient history it was awe-inspiring.
You start off with a video presentation – that introduces the discovery of the tomb and what significance this had.
As well as a little about the 2 deaths of the Ancient Egyptians. The first, the death of the body and then the second when the last person dies that knows your name.
For millennia King Tutankhamun, a young 19-year-old was dead. All evidence of him had been erased from history and then in 1922 Howard Carter discovered his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and he became the most famous of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Now everyone knows his name.
As you walk through the galleries the exhibits are arranged in a progression so that you learn about his life, the dangers he faced, his death and the afterlife as well as about the archaeology and how he is the most known of the Pharaohs.
What is the Exhibition like?
The exhibition is over 2 floors with a basement cafe as well. It is really not suitable for buggies because of the space available. I did see a few mums and dads babywearing so that even toddlers and babies are welcomed.
All of the artefacts are displayed in cases that are climate controlled but positioned so that it is possible for you to walk around them if there are features that stand out on the reverse.
The lighting inside is dark but with the exhibits lit perfectly so our camera phones and my DSLR could take pictures without flash. Photography is permitted without a flash so you can have your own photographs after visiting as well.
The teacher and educator in me loves this and I’ve been printing the ones that I took out so that the kids can create their own Tutankhamun Book.
We took the audio tour – which we would highly recommend you get an introduction to some of the pieces (numbered above them) and either “In the Words of Mr Carter” or by the exhibition curator Tarek El Awady. The commentary not only included details about the artefacts that you were looking at but about Ancient Egypt as well. From the kingdoms to the gods as you toured you were given more details about the culture and King Tutankhamun.
Highlights for Us and the Kids
On the school run on Monday, I was asked what was my highlight of the visit. For me, it was the knowledge that I got, from things like how the Canopic Jars had coffinettes inside them, to the fact that Ancient Egyptians used Boomerangs for hunting and a collection was in the tomb of them.
The kids, though they loved seeing the exhibits, we visited the British Museum way back in the Winter and saw some things there but the difference between a mummified crocodile (ok that was kind of cool) and seeing Tutankhamun Paddleboarding on a skiff gold plated lit exceptional well is huge.
As well as the exhibits they loved hearing about the extras like the curse on the trumpet that every time it’s been played since discovery major unrests have started within weeks. Needless to say, it’s never going to be played again.
Kids Review & Grandparents
I loved it. Seeing King Tutankhamun’s treasure was the best thing. There was loads to see but the mummy picture at the end kind of scared me. Although Mummy tells me that it’s not in the museum but instead in his tomb in Egypt. The audio tour was good and I learnt loads more than I did in school when we studied Ancient Egypt in Year 3.T (age 8 and a 3/4)
The Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh was AMAZING. There was so much to see and learn about. I don’t think my teacher told me half of what I now know! I liked the audio tour because it gave you a little bit and then you could listen to more if you wanted. It was good to hear an expert tell you about it. My favourite exhibit was the wishing cup and the video behind.J (age 10)
We’ve seen a lot of the artefacts from King Tutankhamun before, either in the 1970’s when it came to London or at the Cairo Museum. But, the difference here was amazing – well lit, laid out and with information that told you more than just what it was. The audio tour was well worth it. Visiting with the grand children and seeing them experience it as well as learn more than they could in school and in a different way than on TV was another highlight for us. We now can’t wait for the new Cario museum to open especially if the quality of the displays will be similar. It’s bought museums and exhibitions into the 21st Century.Rainy Day Grandparents
Visiting the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh as a Family
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London from 2nd November 2019 through to the 3rd of May 2020.
Tickets can be purchased here.
BUT, why not take advantage of the family pass which is available during the Christmas break.
The Family Pass is valid for 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children (under 3’s are free) and is ONLY available between 16th December 2019 and 31st December 2019.
Entrance is at 9 am slot only but as this is the first slot of the day you will have plenty of time and space to explore with the kids.
Prices are £70 for the ticket (subject to booking fees and the price may change).
The audio tour was £6 but as I said was well worth it.
In fact, J (10 years old) probably enjoyed it the most out of all of us and has been sharing tidbits with us every since.
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh Quick Guide
- The Saatchi Gallery is just a few minutes walk down King’s Road from Sloane Square on the District and Circle Lines.
- It’s also within 15 minutes walk of the museums in South Kensington so easy to plan in a visit with the kids to the Natural History, Science or Victoria and Albert Museum as well.
- There is a car park within walking distance as well.
- The tour is available in timed entry slots. Every 30 minutes
- You need to arrive 20 – 30 minutes before your entry time and queue.
- There is a security check for bags
- Before seeing the video at the start (mentioned above) there is an opportunity to have your family picture taken and purchase it at the end.
- The cloakroom is available for umbrellas (£1), Coats (£3) and Bags (£5)
- There is a cafe in the basement with excellent coffee and treats.
- On average the tour takes between 60 and 90 minutes (although if you are our family we took 3 hours!) Once you are inside you can spend as long as you want.