Going to visit King Tut

O2 DomeTypical. I finally get to do something interesting that I could tweet about, and Twitter goes and falls over for the day! 😉

We went up to the O2 Dome in Greenwich to visit the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition. It’s the first time the exhibition has been in the UK since 1972 apparently. That’s a bit before my time, but I did see some bits in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo a few years ago.

O2 DomeIt seems to be very popular (we couldn’t get tickets for a weekend – despite trying almost as soon as they went on sale) so your tickets have quite a precise entry time – a half-hour window when you are allowed in.

Once in, you get a two minute introductory video (narrated by Omar Sharif – which brought back dozens of films that I remember watching with my mum as a kid!) which sets the scene of the boy prince who became king, spent ten years trying to undo some of the radical and unpopular changes made by the king before him, before dying from an unknown cause at the age of about twenty.

O2 DomeThe Tutankhamun exhibition is in a bit of the Dome called the “O2 Bubble” – a self-contained bubble made of the same material that the Eden Project is made from. It’s a self-contained environment – a dome within the Dome – which lets them precisely control factors like the temperature and humidity. It’s ideal for exhibitions like this with sensitive items and is all very impressive.

They’re a bit anti-technology once you’re inside – so no phones or photos while you’re inside. Disappointing, although understandable… and probably only noticed by the uber-geeky like me.

O2 DomeIt’s not all tech-free though – you can get an audio tour on a digital walkman, again narrated by Sharif, which gives you background info about the exhibits as you go around. This was really interesting – for a brief taster, you can download a free mp3 snippet from visitlondon.com. It was a bit surreal at times – when you’re not listening to it yourself, it sounded a bit like being surrounded by a swarm of digital locusts quietly chirping away. 😉

O2 DomeIt’s quite a directed experience – you’re sort of herded through the exhibits so you all go round in pretty much the same order at a similar pace – partly because of the pace of the audio tour, and partly just because it was so busy.

But the pace felt about right – for a couple of hours you do lose yourself in another time, surrounded by the fascinating items, and helped by atmospheric lighting and sounds.

And when you’re out, the Dome has plenty of bars, restaurants and coffee shops to fill the rest of the day. We had a great day, and I’d recommend catching it if you can – it will be around till August 2008.

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4 Responses to “Going to visit King Tut”

  1. naquada says:

    I’m off there tomorrow, and really looking forward to it.. I did get a bit confused when the ticket said entry from 18:00 – 18:30 thinking I only had half an hour *doh*, then realising that was the actual entry time.. then got even more confused when the o2 site said the placed closed at 16:00..

    when in actual fact if you check the ‘bubble’ opening times, it’s open until ‘late’ which is probably just as useful information as closing at 16:00!!

    looking forward to it from your post 🙂

    we’re trying to get tickets the the terracotta army as well.. but no luck so far…

  2. Rolo says:

    How weird… Hi Dale, I found your blog on a Google search for “king tut o2”! We’re off there today.

  3. Rolo says:

    Oh meant to say also – thanks for all the info above

  4. dale says:

    hey roland! wow, long time no see. and yeah… small world. google bringing the world together 🙂

    hope you enjoyed the exhibition