Last week I was in New York City for the opening of the King Tut exhibit: “King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs.” It was a very good trip to open an incredible exhibition.
The first day I arrived in New York, I woke up early in the morning to meet Kate Powell, who is 8 years old. She is the daughter of Dina Powell, a good friend of mine. A few years ago, I gave a lecture at Kate’s school to her classmates, and I promised them that if the King Tut exhibit came to New York, they would be the first group to see it. I kept my promise, and at 8 am I met 40 children from Kate’s school, all 8-9 years old, and I showed them the exhibit. They were the first group in New York to see this King Tut exhibit, and you would not believe how happy they were to see it!
Before I had travelled to New York, I contacted my friend Matt Lauer, who I met a few years ago when he came to Egypt as part of a segment for the Today Show called “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” I met him in front of the Sphinx for the show, and we have since become friends. I wrote to him to invite him to the opening gala for the exhibit, but was sad to learn he could not attend. However, he had planned a surprise for me. He decided to visit the exhibit with me for the Today show. I showed him the exhibit for a half an hour, and the next day it appeared on the Today Show as a 4-minute segment. He showed it in the studio with Ann Curry, who is also a friend of mine; she came to Egypt in a great adventure, making a program with me inside the Great Pyramid. For the segment, Matt and I visited the exhibit, and went to the best artefacts, such as the senet board, the beautiful chair of King Tut, the coffinette, and the replica mummy that is very impressive. At the end of the tour, I gave Matt some of my books, as well as one of my replica hats for him and his wife Annette and their children.
The gala party for the exhibit opening was very interesting. There was a slight problem, in that the hall was meant to hold 400 people, and over 900 were invited. It was very crowded an busy, with many interesting people in attendance. Leslie Grief showed a 3-minute preview of his new show: “Chasing Mummies: The Amazing Adventures of Zahi Hawass.” Then Leslie’s friend Peter sang a few songs and after that, I gave a speech. A very nice surprise during the party was that I found out Brooke Shields was there, and I had the chance to speak with her about her past visit to Cairo, and how she will never forget when I took her down into the Osiris shaft at Giza, which is about 20 meters underground, south of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. I was glad to be able to see her again and take a photo with her.
The press conference for the exhibit was very good, over 200 members of the press came, and many papers wrote articles and reviews about the exhibit.
Here are a few: