Christmas with King Tut

Artifacts from King Tutuankhamun’s tomb are on display at the Cleburne Public Library. The free exhibit, dubbed “Christmas with King Tut,” runs through Dec. 15.

According to actor/comedian Steve Martin’s 1978 hit single, King Tutuankhamun enjoyed dancing by the Nile, once ate a crocodile and ladies loved his style. 

While the historical accuracy of Martin’s Tut takes may be debatable, Cleburnites, not to mention visitors from near and far, now have an opportunity to learn much more about the former boy king thanks to the Cleburne Public Library.

Dubbed “Christmas with King Tut,” the library’s free exhibit includes replicas of artifacts from Tut’s tomb. The display runs through Dec. 15.

“We’ve had quite a few people ask about the exhibit,” Library Manager Tina Dunham said. “Now that the displays have arrived and are set out it’s obvious to see what a great and interesting collection this is.”

Museum volunteer Bettye Cook agreed.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect but was very excited  once I saw all the  exhibits going up,” Cook said. “It’s quite an eye catching, fun display and it’s an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about King Tut and Egyptian history.”

The exhibit commemorates the discovery of Tut’s tomb in November 1922 by archeologist Howard Carter. Carter and his staff spent a decade removing and conserving more than 5,000 items dating back from 1350 B.C. from Tut’s final resting place.

About 50 replica items make up the library’s exhibit including alabaster vases, jewelry, statues, furniture and Tut’s gold mask. The University of Memphis’ Egyptian History Department helped prepare the exhibit to ensure accuracy and proper detail.

To up the fun level, library officials have included scavenger hunts and other Tut-related activities for kids and adults.

A Monday program, “The Life of the Boy King,” brings library visitors a chance to learn even more about, as Martin describes him, Funky Tut.

Rollin Phipps, coordinator of the project, will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s meeting room. The event is free.

Phipps earned his M.A. From the University of Texas at Arlington in 1983 and went on to complete his archival certification at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Phipps, a retired instructor at UTA, has taught courses in Egyptology since 1980 and has conducted tours and research projects in Egypt. 

Dunham and Cook add that “lively discussion and Egyptian refreshments will be a part of exploring the mysteries of Egyptian history” that night.

Phipps, no stranger to the Cleburne Public Library, is a wealth of knowledge, Cook said.

“Phipps was a quite knowledgeable and entertaining speaker at the library’s Downton Abbey Tea in 2019,” Cook said. 

The Cleburne Pubic Library is at 302 W. Henderson St. For information, call 817-645-0934 or visit cleburne.net/library.

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