Re-Discovering the Infamous Life of a Boy King (Case Study: The Discovery of King Tut)

Museum Hack - Renegade Tours

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Museum exhibitions are doorways into lost worlds.  The showcase of content reveals history, art, and culture to audiences that may have only heard legends and class lectures.  Traveling exhibitions are a special opportunity to dive deeply into particular time periods and historical events, opening audience’s eyes to the real stories behind the legends and myths.

Yet traveling exhibitions have a unique set of challenges when it comes to connecting with guests.  These museums only have one shot to wow their visitors, making it critical that they nail their content and engagement from the get go.  The focus on user experience is heightened as these exhibitions draw in new audiences and try to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Museum Hack specializes in audience engagement.  Though we often work in traditional brick-and-mortar museums, our methods of engagement are applicable to a wide range of museum experiences – including the small, niche-based focus of traveling exhibitions.  We recently worked with Premiere Exhibitions to develop unique, fun tours of The Discovery of King Tut exhibition while it was on display in New York City.

A young girl looks at an Egyptian coffin in the King Tut exhibition

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The Discovery of King Tut is a recreation of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the treasures found within it, taking visitors on a journey 3,000 years in the making to uncover the secrets of the boy king’s life… and the legends of the world’s greatest archaeological find.  These replicas and reconstructions reveal the original tomb as it was found and documented by Howard Carter in 1922.  Visitors experience these stunning treasures as they were when the tomb was first opened, presenting a cohesive narrative that has allowed archaeologists to unlock the mysteries of Ancient Egypt.

Guests listen to Museum Hack tour in front of religious statues

The exhibit itself is fascinating.  The pieces, designed by expert Egyptian craftspeople and renowned Egyptologists, are exquisite. To truly showcase this attention to authenticity, the exhibit’s creators wanted to enhance engagement in the tour. That’s when they called Museum Hack.

It’s no secret that we believe audience engagement is the lifeblood of amazing museum experiences.  While the exhibition featured a self-guided audio tour, it didn’t provide unique interactions or social experiences for visitors.  We set out to offer audiences a new way to discover King Tut’s life and tomb with our highly interactive, uniquely social museum tours.

Tour of King Tut exhibition

How to 10X Visitor Engagement

Our custom, first-come first-serve VIP tours were offered free to visitors, enabling audiences to choose whether the self-guided or guided tours were right for the experience they wanted.  We took our guests on a thirty minute journey into King Tut’s life and death, revealing the best-kept secrets and scandals of the infamous boy king. 

For example, did you know that Egyptians had many home goods similar to our own – but also gave such objects special associations?  Listen to Renegade Guide Evan discuss how makeup became magic in Ancient Egypt:

To up the engagement factor, we brought in a fortune teller, told stories about ancient Egyptian gods, and revealed incredible conspiracy theories surrounding King Tut’s death, including a particularly scandalous story involving his dead body and a very important piece of his anatomy that had been mummified.  Our guides came up with an awesome mummy rap, much to the delight of the exhibit’s visitors:

While uncovering the hidden secrets of Tut’s life and death was a challenge, we were also challenged by our visitors.  Museum Hack specializes in museum experiences primarily geared to adults.  Yet, at the Discovery of King Tut, we discovered that traveling exhibitions – and Ancient Egypt – are of particular fascination to children!  Many of our guests were families eager to discover the world of Ancient Egypt.

Museum Hack tour guide discusses King Tut with young girl

Luckily, our guides are highly trained in handling spur-of-the-moment changes in order to accommodate our guests.  They quickly revised the language used on our tours so that families could experience the world of King Tut, without worrying about suggestive content. 

One fun activity that got kids and adults engaged was Cult Challenge, where we challenged our guests to give a statue of an Egyptian god a new name and role in modern society.  Check out the video below to find out the fun new gods they came up with!

Creating a Totally New Experience For Guests

Ultimately, our tours were a vibrant companion to Premiere Exhibitions’ exhibit, and the guests loved it.  One guest, a journalist with Metro NYC, even wrote an article about the experience in which he stated,

“If the exhibits actually have to come alive for a night at the museum to sound like fun to you, then a Museum Hack tour is the next best thing.”

A couple listens in on the Museum Hack tour

With our help, The Discovery of King Tut was a revitalized, engaging experience for visitors.  We unlocked the secrets discovered by Howard Carter nearly 100 years ago… and brought to life one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.  Check out this great video recap of our tours:

Want to bring your latest exhibition or event to life?  Contact us to learn how we can help engage new audiences with your museum.

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