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Sales from the Crypt: Tut Shop Must-Haves

We are all well accustomed to tacky museum gift shop items, but “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” now at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (to Sept. 30), takes schlock to a whole new level of outrageous tastelessness.
Here are a couple of choice items to add to your Museum of Kitsch:
“Ancient Egyptian Dog Collar”: $85
Tut Tissue Box Cover: $29.95
Appropriately presiding over the cash registers is a huge photo mural of Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who was responsible for structuring this big-ticket show ($32.50 on weekends; $27.50 weekdays) as a major moneymaker supporting the preservation of Egyptian antiquities.
I passed on the $240 King Tut CD Cabinet, but purchased the $49.95 catalogue, which includes a CD of the audio tour.
The 1970s Tutankhamun exhibition, which I saw twice at the Metropolitan Museum, was one of the highlights of my museumgoing life. The current show often seemed more about theatrical presentation than about the objects. By the last gallery, I wanted to throttle the Egyptian elevator-music chorus, whose intrusive “ah-ah-ahs” were a constant source of noise pollution.
The best part of the viewing experience: The galleries on a late Monday afternoon were sparsely attended.

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