“Tut is the king of all exhibitions,” says Stephen Flint Wood, IMG’s SVP of Arts and Entertainment Events. “There’s always been a fascination from when the tomb was first discovered.”
The entrance to King Tutankhamun’s tomb was first discovered in 1922, and the pharaoh has indeed held a place in both the public imagination and popular culture ever since, appearing in everything from Tintin comics to Steve Martin’s hit novelty song to Young Indiana Jones. Now comes the museum event King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, which debuts at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on March 24th, the first of a planned 10-city exhibition timed to the centennial of archaeologist Howard Carter’s discovery.
Although Tut has made a splash with U.S. visits before, most recently in 2005 in partnership with National Geographic, this time the pharaoh of all Egyptian pharaohs (at least in the modern imagination) has a Hollywood agent. The preeminent stager of big-ticket museum exhibits, Exhibitions International, was recently acquired by IMG, the sports and entertainment agency that is a subsidiary of the Hollywood talent and media company Endeavor. That means that Tut will be an early case study in how to elevate a live museum experience the same way it has tackled fashion events such as New York Fashion Week.
IMG acquired Exhibitions International late last year from John Norman, who started the business in 1998 after being inspired by a confluence of history and Hollywood. He was in St. Petersburg, Florida when he noticed lines forming around the Florida International Museum as people…