KANSAS CITY — Union Station in Kansas City will be turned into Egypt this summer, where visitors will be able to re-create the discovery of King Tut's tomb.
Station officials announced this week that the exhibit, "The Discovery of King Tut," will run from April 7 to Sept. 7. It is the largest exhibit ever attempted at the station, and will be the first stop for the exhibit in the United States.
"This is a major coup for us and a coup for Kansas City," said George Guastello, Union Station's CEO.
The Kansas City Star reports the exhibit is described as "virtual archaeology." It will recreate Egypt's Valley of the Kings, and allow visitors to enter the tomb chamber by chamber. In the chambers, they will find treasures placed where they were when King Tut was buried more than 3,300 years ago.
It will include more than 1,000 reproductions of artifacts found in the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb, including the famous golden mask that covered the mummy's face, the alabaster canopic jars, his golden throne and his ceremonial chariot.
"This exhibition would be impossible to present without the use of reproductions, and there are multiple reasons for that," according to Premier Exhibitions Inc., the exhibit producer. "Primarily, the original artifacts discovered in King Tut's tomb are no longer permitted to tour outside of Egypt."
The producers say the reproductions were faithfully crafted by Egyptian artists.
Organizers say the aim of this Tut exhibit is to simulate the experience of the discovery of the tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter from 1922 to 1924.
The artifacts inside include barges for the afterlife, jewelry and furniture, three nesting coffins, colorful wall paintings and figures of various gods. After passing through the four chambers, visitors will be able to inspect tomb replicas more closely in the second half of the exhibit.
Tutankhamun became pharaoh at about age 9 and reigned about 10 years before he died. He was a king of the 18th dynasty and is thought to have been the son of the pharaoh Akhenaten.
At 20,000 square feet, the Tut exhibit will require five weeks to install. It is sponsored by Bank of America.
The exhibit has been seen by an estimated 5 million people in Europe since 2008, said Michael Tritt, Union Station's chief marketing officer.
Station officials were looking for a blockbuster to celebrate the centennial of the railroad depot's opening in 1914.
"This is our 100th anniversary," Guastello said. "There is no bigger name for our anniversary than King Tut."