Arts / Museums

King Tut’s Tomb Opening Brings a Surprise Mummy Reveal in Houston — Channeling Another Time at HMNS

An Unwrapping to Remember

BY // 11.03.22

The official opening of the King Tut’s Tomb exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science was preceded by reenactment of a mummy reveal soirée as it would have been held in London in the early 1900s. The 100 special guests, most members of HMNS’ Curator’s Circle, were invited to assist in the unwrapping of a convincing “mummy.”

The presentation took place after a private tour of the remarkable exhibition “King Tut’s Tomb, Discovery Experience,” celebrating the 100 years since discovery of the tomb. They were accompanied by the exhibit’s creators and key museum staff.

It was an educational evening of make-believe as the Alley Theatre’s Todd Waite took the role of famed Egyptologist Sir Alan Henderson Gardner (1879 to 1963) as he invited guests into an opulent salon, circa 1914, complete with Oriental carpets, chinoiserie, wing back chairs and the 3,000-year-old mummy, created in stunning authentic detail by Kat Havens and Nicole Temple of the HMNS Education Department.

As guests were seated, Waite shared in detail the process of mummification and talked of the archeological digs that would soon (1922) discover Tut’s tomb. The setting was the home of George and Almina Herbert, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who were financiers of Howard Carter’s expeditions in Egypt. Carter being the one who discovered Tut’s tomb.

HMNS Curator's Circle members tour the replica of King Tut's Tomb. (Photo by Hung L. Truong)
HMNS Curator’s Circle members tour the replica of King Tut’s Tomb. (Photo by Hung L. Truong)

For the event that included a cocktail buffet from Wolfgang Puck Catering, Victorian costuming was recommended. Some obliged creating an entertaining fashion tableau. But all drew a Victorian alter-ego identity upon entry. Those who drew “Winston Churchill” and “Sybil Thorndike” were first to participate in the unwrapping ceremony.

Adding to the night’s interest were two precious items of jewelry, hidden within the display, from Valobra Master Jewelers.

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PC Seen: HMNS president and CEO Joel Bartsch, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Kylie and Buddy Carruth, Jody Vaughan, Jeanene Goza, Michelle Marlar, Cheryl and Dustin Newcomb, Eva and Matthew Wong, Sallie Morian, Mary Lou Swift, Susan and Dan Danges, Anny Whyte, Ben Hobratsch, Laurence Unger, and Donna and Pat Cannon.

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