Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs: In Philadelphia Until 9/30

Wharton Club members are encouraged travel back 3,000 years
Visit this exhibitition & Penn's University Museum companion show,
Amarna: Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun
Special hotel packages include VIP tickets to either or both shows

While in Philadelphia to visit campus (e.g., May, Alumni Weekend) or for any purpose, it is highly recommend that view the new King Tut show, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, at the Franklin Institute. Much larger than the prior show, it will be there until September 30. Penn's University Museum is also worth visiting if your schedule permits and you'd like to learn more about the ancient Egyptians. It has mounted a related exhibit of its own, Amarna: Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun.

It is possible that Wharton or Penn may organize one or more special events around these exhibits. As of this writing, in late April, that has not yet happened.

But don't let that stop you. You should take the initiative, perhaps staying at a hotel that offers 2 VIP (untimed, enter-at-any-time tickets) as part of a package. If you live in the Philadelphia area or have friends with whom you can stay, consider joining the Franklin Institute to get Members' tickets and access to a special lounge that bypasses the long serpentine line to the start of the exhibit. (The lounge is open to VIP ticket holders as well).

Click here to learn more about the options open to you in general as part of this Philadelphia area phenomenon. If you want to learn about the lodging packages "fit for a king," such as the package at the Hilton Inn at Penn with tickets for both shows, click here. Other hotels to consider because of proximity to the Tut exhibit include the Four Seasons and the Sheraton Philadelphia Center, both just short walks to the Franklin Institute. Practical tips:

Here's more info about this major Tut exhibit:

Ancient Egyptian boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun (he ruled from age 9 until his death at 19) is ruling once again: this time his empire consists of Philadelphia and The Countryside™, and his reign will last not a decade, but seven months, from February 3 through September 30, 2007.

Thirty years after Tutankhamun’s treasures last visited the United States and more than 3,000 years after his death, the treasures of the boy king have come to Philadelphia, the final stop on the current U.S. tour.

The landmark exhibition, entitled Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, presented by Mellon Financial Corporation, is making Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute the last stop on its North American tour.

To welcome King Tut, his royal family and the one million estimated visitors who will visit the exhibition, Philadelphia will host a city-wide celebration filled with Tut activities and promotions, hotel packages and exclusive offers fit for a king!

More than doubling the size of the original 1977 exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs has brought close to 130 pieces of Egyptian antiquities, many outside of Egypt for the first time, to The Franklin Institute. The 18th Dynasty, also known as the “Golden Age," produced some of the most exquisite pieces of art for some of Egypt’s most famous rulers. Within the exhibit witness not only a child-sized throne made of of wood, gesso, gold, ivory, and copper alloy but also artifacts from the five other Pharaohs tombs, of those who ruled during the “Golden Age”.

Look into the eyes of a “boy king” recreated by CT scans, and explore the mystery that surrounds King Tutankhamun’s death. Four previous examinations have given a glimpse into how the king came to an early rest. But it was not until 2005, during a five-year Egyptian research and conservation project, that a true picture came to light.

About Amarna: Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun, at Penn's University Museum:

Amarna, the ancient Egyptian city where King Tutankhamun spent his childhood 3,300 years ago, will be the focus of an exciting new exhibition coming to Penn Museum in November, 2006.

The Amarna Period in ancient Egyptian history has fascinated archaeologists, historians and everyday curiosity-seekers for centuries.

Located in a previously uninhabited stretch of desert in Middle Egypt, Amarna was founded by the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was most likely the father of Tutankhamun. (Akhenaten’s wife was Queen Nefertiti)

In addition to building a new royal city, Akhenaten radically altered Egypt’s long-standing, polytheistic religious practices, introducing the belief in a single deity, the disk of the sun, called the Aten. With the new religion also came a dramatically new artistic style.

During your visit to the exhibit, you will see more than 100 artifacts that will bring this fascinating era to life.

Use archaeological “clues” — drawings, maps, photography and computer recreations — to rediscover the once-thriving royal court of Amarna. Learn of Amarna’s incredible rise to power... and then of its amazing and abrupt decline.

The considerable collection of artifacts on display supplies the evidence for the exhibition’s storyline, which will take you on a visual and intellectual journey from before the Amarna Period to the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty. To learn more about the Amarna exhibit or the University Museum, click here. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Practical Tips:

  • Tut Tut: Tut Trolley Transportation:

A great way to take in all of Center City Philadelphia’s Tut-inspired offerings (many are still in the works) is to ride the Tut Trolley, an inexpensive shuttle service that carries visitors between The Franklin Institute, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a centralized hotel stop.

  • Your Timing: The best times to see the exhibitions are in the afternoons and early evening. Avoid weekends if you can. Crowds are huge and may well detract from your enjoyment of the amazing exhibition. The best starting point is with a VIP ticket. It gives you the advantages of entry at any time, bypassing the General Admission line that can take up to an hour or so. Allow at least one hour just for the show.
  • Extras: While you are at the Franklin Institute, allow time to view one or both of the Imax films and the show at the Fels Planetarium, "Stars of the Pharaohs" (complementary). The slight extra fee for either Imax viewing is worthwhile. You need to book in advance, or at least promptly upon your arrival at the venue. While there, especially if you are with children, you may wish to view other parts of the Institute. Altogether, you can easily spend from a half-day to a full day at the Franklin Institute. Also, we recommend the audio tour, narrated by none other than renowned actor Omar Sharif. Originally from Egypt, he is an apt choice for this starring role.
  • Food choices: Mainly fast and convenience foods at the Franklin Institute. If you decide to take a break before coming back for more of Tut or the other exhibits, Philadelphia has a phenomenal array of excellent dining options. Lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants along Rittenhouse Square, elsewhere in Center City, the Old City, or on campus should satisfy any palate. Maybe you might even skip the usual - from gourmet to cheesesteak - and try some Middle Eastern food.
  • Another lodging choice: in the historic Old City - the Thomas Bond House, a charming B&B owned by Wharton Club of DC member Tom Lantry. If you're a Wharton Club member, you save for each night of your stay. (login and check under Member Benefits). Plus, as is always true of B&Bs, your breakfast in included. Pleasant during the week, the Bond House gives you a delicious and filling hot breakfast on weekends. To paraphrase the words of another Bond, you may be stirred, not shaken, by this charming place in the heart of history. You may even meet other guests there, adding to the memorable quality of your visit. 
  • Deals and Discounts :

Many Philly attractions are offering discounts to Tut exhibition ticket holders. For instance, a Franklin Institute ticket stub will take $3 off the price of admission to the Lights of Liberty Show, an ambulatory sound-and-light tour that runs from April to October. And for those looking to take in some mini-golf, the same ticket stub gets a dollar off a round of putt-putt at Franklin Square’s new course, from March through September 2007.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside™ a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality. For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit www.gophila.com or call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676.

(Most of the above, with the exception of comments on timing, extras and food choices, is adapted from materials provided by the Franklin Institute, University Museum and Philadelphia Marketing, either on their websites or elsewhere).