“It took 3,000 years for them to make it to Minnesota, and in only a few short days, they’ll be going away,” says the Science Museum of Minnesota, referring to The King Tut Exhibit’s closing on September 5. It’s been in town since May and just last Saturday we checked it off our Summer to-do list. I had also been toying around with becoming members of the museum.
The kids, 6 and 8 now, seemed ready to graduate from the Children’s Museum to the Science Museum. An annual membership for a family starts at $100. The pricing for the exhibit for non-members is $30 for adults and $18 for kids, which would have been $66 for the three of us. After I discovered the one children’s ticket free with adult purchase promo if you visit after 3:00, it seemed like an opportune time to join.
We arrived in St. Paul at 3:30 and for $1.50, parked at an hour-long meter along 4th street, just a one and half block walk to the museum. Meters are only enforced until 4:30, so on that particular street, there were like 10 open spots when we arrived. We left our picnic lunch in the cooler in the car. The ramp is a nice option too. I was going for cost-saving measures to offset membership purchase this time around.
A short wait in line later, the museum person helping me confirmed the promo deal for members too: $18 for me, one kid free and the other for $14 for $32 total. Plus you always get in free and omnitheater movies are free too. We got wristbands for the 4:00 entrance and paid $6 for one audio tour headset (I didn’t think necessary to buy 3 for each of us). We entered the exhibit and Harrison Ford walked us through a brief history and prepped us for the exhibit. The museum suggests allowing for 1.5hours to go through the exhibit. We were there that plus 15 minutes – possibly sharing the audio tour added some time.
They billed it as the greatest archaeology discovery of all time. The boy king, Tut for short, Tutankhamun (pronounced toot-in-common) for long, reigns over other pharaohs because his body and the riches and discoveries in his tomb were so significant. The kids mostly liked the different masks and headdress, especially the nemes headdress, the striped head cloth and the animals used in symbolism. The painstaking efforts these people living in 1333BC used to conceal and protect their deceased kings, seemed to capture the kids’ attention most. Ava liked the gold and jewelry. Calvin was all about the mummy and video, showing the extraction of DNA from King Tut and several mummies. Important because in February 2010, DNA tests confirmed that he was the son of Akhentan.
The intersection of science and history. This got us thinking a bit. As we exited the exhibit, the gift shop was eye candy for them. There was a really cool hidden treasures book Ava tried to sell me on, but Calvin had quickly deferred our attention to the hieroglyphics vending machine. I happily fed it a dollar per kid to spit out their name in hieroglyphics with a secret decoder. We meandered a bit through the museum on the riverfront to scope out the Big Back Yard for a future mini golf outing then headed back to the car.
It was time for a snack. We took our small-pack cooler and walked through Rice Park and landed on the triangle square by Landmark Center and Lawson Commons. A few Charles Schultz’ bronzed Peanuts statues we called Chocolate Peanuts, served as a jungle gym and nearly an hour’s worth of entertainment. Some characters strolled through. An Indian family said they were just at an Indian festival at the State Capitol. Which had the kids questioning, who were our ancestors? and where was our family festival? I assured them I would look into Norwegian, Bohemian, Danish and Scottish festivals when we returned home.
What do we in 2011 have in common with this boy king and the way people lived in 1333BC? We settled on a main commonality: as humans, we want to know where we come from and how we will somehow live on long after we’re gone in some way, however big or small.