Zahi Hawass will be speaking at the Clowes Memorial Auditorium in Indianapolis tonight, and guess who has some one-on-one time with him afterwards, thanks to a special assignment for Heritage Key?
When I first read about the Tutankhamun exhibition, Tutankhamen: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, I have to admit that I was elated! It has been twelve years since I was able to see Tut up close, at the Cairo Museum, and the thought that he would be just two hours away brought back some of the excitement I felt before going to Egypt.
Of course, when I read a little further and realized that the burial mask would not be included, I have to admit I felt a little let down. I was still very excited at the prospect of seeing more than 130 artifacts from Tutankhamen’s burial, along with items from other kings dating from the Fourth Dynasty all the way to the Late Period, but naturally there was some disappointment at not being able to see the most recognized face in archaeology.
But when I heard that Dr. Zahi Hawass would be speaking in Indianapolis on August 7th, my spirits lifted considerably! Like all Egypt aficionados, I follow Dr. Hawass’ work with much excitement. The depth of his knowledge combined with his passion for Egypt’s history can turn even the most casual observer into a fan. So plans were made for a road trip to Indy to take in the Tut Exhibition and see The Man from Egypt speak at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall.
As the date approached, my anticipation began to really build. Maybe I wouldn’t be seeing Tut’s burial mask, but the opportunity to hear Zahi Hawass speaking about Tut was more than a consolation prize. I was excited about the possibility that new information might be revealed concerning ongoing projects around Giza and in the Valley of the Kings. But no amount of anticipation or excitement could have prepared me for what happened next.
When I perused my email on August 6th, the day before the trip to see the exhibition and to hear Dr. Hawass speak, there was a letter from Rebecca Thompson, Commissioning Editor for Heritage Key, asking me if I would like to interview Dr. Hawass.
At the risk of sounding like an excited teenager standing by the backdoor of a concert hall after the show waiting for a rock star to make his appearance, I have to say that 24 hours later my heart rate has yet to settle around normal. But as I have an obligation to report to the public, I promise to regain my composure long enough to do a proper interview! But needless to say, I have made my peace with not being able to see Tutankhamen’s burial mask.
I have been working closely with Heritage Key to put together a list of questions we think you, the reader, will want answered. I intend to return with some real ground-breaking (no pun intended) information, so hopefully your anticipation is now building as well. But as I tried to get to sleep last night, with CNN’s summaries of all the tension in the world playing in the background, one question kept bouncing around.
Back in June, when Dr. Hawass attended the opening of the Tut Exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, he said in a speech that there are two important ambassadors that will help relations between Egypt and the U.S.: One is King Tut, and the other is President Obama.
I would like to ask about another ambassador: Zahi Hawass. What role does he see Egyptology playing in world peace? How can Egypt and her complex and glorious history help expand the dialogue between different cultures today?
But for now, the road awaits. When next you hear from me, I should have some exciting news indeed.
Many thanks to Heritage Key for making this possible. As soon as the interview (with cool photos) is up I will be posting links here!
By the way, the article at Heritage Key will appear under my real name, which is Keith Payne. And you thought Shemsu Sesen was the name my mom gave me…