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A $50 million date with Tutankhamun

Visual Arts Writer

Australian Museum expansion makes room for world's biggest blockbuster to visit Sydney.
A $50 million date with Tutankhamun

Sydney has been named as one of 10 exclusive world venues for the Tutankhamun exhibition; supplied

Over this past long weekend (Monday, 11 June), NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the Australian Museum will expand its touring exhibition halls to the tune of $50 million, opening with the largest King Tutankhamun exhibition to ever leave Egypt.

Due to the scale of the blockbuster exhibition, it is only possible with the multi-million dollar expansion / refurbishment, and has been scheduled for early 2021. 

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‘The Tutankhamun exhibition is a game-changer for Sydney and Australia. Sydney is the major cultural city in the Pacific/South East Asian region, and the significant upgrades to the Australian Museum will ensure we have world-class museum exhibition spaces for visitors as well as residents to enjoy,’ said the Minister.

‘As well as the transformed exhibition space, the refurbishment will also create new education facilities, enabling school student visitors to double to 100,000 a year – all completed in time to host the Tutankhamun exhibition,’ continued Harwin.

The expanded touring exhibition halls will be able to accommodate up to 800,000 visitors. Director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay said that the refurbishment is a critical step in the future development of the Australian Museum.

‘Repurposing existing storage space will see the significant expansion of the touring exhibition halls to 1500 square metres across two levels – allowing the Museum to host either one big blockbuster or two exhibitions simultaneously,’ she said.

Image courtesy Australian Museum

Exhibition is South-East Asian exclusive

Touted as the “world’s biggest blockbuster”, Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will be staged in Sydney for an exclusive six-month run at the Australian Museum.

Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh features more than 150 objects from King Tut’s tomb, including 60 treasures never previously displayed outside Egypt. Produced by IMG, it is the last time these objects will travel outside Egypt now that the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is nearing completion.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter

Currently on exhibit to sold-out crowds at the California Science Center in Los Angeles – the first stop on the 10-city world tour – the exhibition also features advanced display technology and the latest science about King Tut's life, health, death and lineage.

 ‘We expect this amazing collection will bring in more than $100 million to our visitor economy - an outstanding result for tourism in our State,’ said Perrottet.

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