Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Museum

The Field Museum in Chicago is hosting the massive new King Tut exhibit through January 1, and we ordered tickets. Here is how popular this show is: we couldn't get five tickets together. At all. So we split up, and my father-in-law and I hit the museum on Saturday morning.

The Field Museum, if you've never been to it, is a massive natural history museum. I was able to take a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately, none of them are of the Tutankhamun exhibit--photography was strictly verboten and I didn't want to get kicked out. I do have some pictures of a few of the things we looked at while we were waiting for our 11 a.m. entrance time.

If you go--and I recommend it--understand that the "enter between time x and time y" part of the ticket really means "get there half an hour early and get in line." We spent 45 minutes wandering around the museum and got in line at the exact time specified on our tickets. Here is what the line looked like:

I was not at the back of the line when I took this picture, which looks forward towards the entrance to the exhibit. Actually, that's not technically true: this is the line that we waited on to get in line to get into the exhibit. That's a lot of people, but we only spent about half an hour waiting. The line moved steadily along, and the Museum staff did a great job getting people in.

For more on the Tut exhibit, the Field Museum's exhibit website can tell you far more than I can, and in far better detail. I do have some random observations, though, on what amazed me.

  • Actual people used some of this stuff. Three thousand years ago, someone's ass was in that chair. Someone else was carrying that shield. Someone else was putting that ceremonial dagger onto Tutankhamun's mummy and hoping that Tutankhamun would put it to good use in the afterlife.

  • I have no idea why, but seeing the wood grain on the model boats was neat.

  • There were some photos of the tomb from Carter's rediscovery of it. As my father-in-law said, it looked like a yard sale. I don't know, I had this vision of items lovingly stacked, organized and arranged for a journey to the afterlife. It looked more like my basement.

  • Nobody was sketching. Photography was prohibited, but surely out of the thousands of people there, someone would want to sketch. I would have, but I didn't even think to bring my sketchbook--maybe everyone else was in the same boat.

  • I was able to pick out the hieroglyphics for Tutankhamun's names on many of the artifacts. I think that's so neat. However, I think the exhibit does a poor job of translating the hieroglyphics for Tutankhamun's cartouche. Yes, I am not an Egyptologist or a museum curator. I still think I'm right. But that's another post.

One last thing on Tutankhamun. Outside the gift shop (which was, conveniently, also the exit of the exhibit...funny how that works) was a bust of the recent reconstruction of Tut's face. Yes, this hot chick... actually King Tut. All I could think of was Jaye Davidson in Stargate.

Okay, a few more crappy photos and we'll call it done. First, here's Sue the T-Rex:

Some neat old bottles. We were standing next to someone else who was looking at them, and he suddenly said "Holy [cow], I have that one! And that one!"

Here's the Polar Bear display. Bauer, they don't look all that badass. I think you rigged that game. :)

I was thinking that George W. Bush would be behind the curtain; the sign asks "Who's the most unusual primate?" and The Monkey King would have been a good guess...

...but it was really just some doofus with a cellphone camera.

Pun Alert! Five dollars American* to the first person other than my wife to tell me why I had to get a picture of this animal, and why it had to be the last picture.

This is the story of our trip to the Field Museum in Chicago.

*Actual dollars not available.


  • We saw an Egypt exhibit (maybe the same one) in Denver a few years ago, and I had "Powerslave" playing constantly in my head.

    By Anonymous Josh, at 8:07 PM  

  • (Savannah) Certainly appropriate. I wonder if any curators were like, "We should get them to perform at the opening!" and then faced a wall of withering glares.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 PM  

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