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King Tut Opens At Seattle Center

Marcie Sillman

Egyptian voters are at the polls today and tomorrow. They're participating in the first fully democratic elections in their nation's long history. Puget Sound area residents get a glimpse of some of that history this week. The long–awaited King Tut exhibition opens to the general public Thursday at Seattle's Pacific Science Center.


Bryce Seidl was clearly excited when he welcomed a gaggle of reporters to a preview of the new King Tut exhibit.

Seidl: "We have the great pleasure to be able to be the host for the final showing in North America of what is clearly the most exciting exhibition travelling the world today."

Seidl is president and CEO for Pacific Science Center, the host for "Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs." The show features more than 100 objects from King Tut's tomb and other ancient sites. Some of these artifacts date back thousands of years. There's everything from the gold breastplate found on the young king's mummy, to larger–than–life carved statues of Kings and Queens, to the sarcophagus of a royal cat.

Seidl says the Science Center has sold more than 90,000 advance tickets to the exhibition. The Seattle Convention and Visitor's Bureau expects this show to bring millions of dollars in tourism revenue to the region.

While Science Center officials look forward to big crowds, they also acknowledge that the King Tut show opens on a historic occasion in Egypt. This week Egyptian voters participate in their country's first democratic election. Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim led a delegation from his country to the Seattle King Tut show. Standing in a gallery surrounded by golden jewelry and other ancient artifacts, Ibrahim said the elections pave the way for a new future in Egypt.

Ibrahim: "We think that we are able to reconstruct our country again, to re–establish a new regime."

Ibrahim hopes the King Tut show will inspire Americans and others who see it to make the trip to his country. He says that would help put the artifacts in their proper context. But more than that, Ibrahim says tourism revenue also will help ensure the stability of a democratically elected government in Egypt.

Ibrahim: "I was addressing this message to the Americans to come to Egypt. This is the only way of help we need."

"Tutankhamun: the Golden King and the Great Pharaohs will be at Seattle's Pacific Science Center through early January 2013. This is the last time audiences will be able to see these artifacts in North America.

I'm Marcie Sillman, KUOW News.

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