COSI King Tut Exhibit: A Photographic Tour

King Tutankhamun, also known as “King Tut,” was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the 18th dynasty (c. 1332–1323 BCE). His tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. And now you can learn more about him and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb at the COSI King Tut exhibit on display now until September 4th, 2023.

Here is a review and inside look of the exhibit including photos I took during my visit. Below I share my experience as you walk through the exhibit and I show you some of the key artifacts on display.

While I post several pictures from the exhibit below, I highly recommend that you check out the exhibit yourself. The pictures I took do not do it justice, nor do I include half of what was there.

King tut burial tomb display at COSI

The artifacts on display are authentically recreated replicas of the items in King Tutankhamun’s tomb exactly as they were discovered by Howard Carter and his team in 1922.

These exhibits are of the highest quality and have been faithfully hand-crafted in fine-detail by experts in Egypt, as the original artifacts are very fragile and of great cultural significance to the Egyptian people.

Moving original artifacts is not possible, nor ethical in maintaining and preserving their quality.

However, as you will see in this article, the exhibit is very high quality and educational.

Who was King Tutankhamun?

King Tutankhamun was born in 1341 BCE to Akhenaten, a pharaoh known for his radical religious reforms. When Akhenaten died, Tutankhamun, who was then only nine or ten years old, ascended to the throne with the help of his advisors, including the powerful general Horemheb and the chief Vizier Ay.

King tut coffin

During his short reign, King Tutankhamun reversed many of his father’s religious reforms, restoring the traditional gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt.

King Tutankhamun’s reign was relatively unremarkable, but his death in 1323 BCE would ultimately make him one of the most famous pharaohs in history.

After his death, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings in a tomb that remained undisturbed for over 3,000 years until its discovery by Howard Carter in 1922.

The discovery of his tomb and its treasures was found to be intact and include his iconic golden death mask. It sparked renewed interest in ancient Egyptian history and culture. As you will learn from the exhibit, it was full of artifacts and was untouched until its discovery.

Today, King Tutankhamun is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in ancient Egyptian history, not only for the discovery of his tomb but also for his role in restoring traditional religious practices.

How long does the King Tut exhibit take to see?

The first half of the tour is semi-guided with short 5-7 minute movie/audio presentations. The second half of the tour is self-guided so you can spend as much time as you like. On average, you should plan for about 45 minutes give or take to see the exhibit.

COSI’s King Tut exhibit fees

The King Tut exhibit is not included in general admission. Ticket fees as of March 28th, 2023 was $15.00 for the King Tut exhibit and $25.00 for general admission prices. There is also a $2.00 fee to support Columbus Arts and Culture that will get added on to your ticket price.

If you are a senior, veteran, teacher or member discounted rates are available. All general admission tickets must be purchased in advance at

Important tip: You will want to purchase tickets ahead of time AND I highly recommend purchasing the King Tut add-on in advance. Reservations had starting times with 15-minute increments, and mine was scheduled for 10:45am.

Once I entered the general admission check-in line around 10:00am, I noticed the King Tut tickets were selling out fast. By the time I arrived to the exhibit at 10:45am, the person scanning tickets said there were only a few afternoon time slots left.

COSI King Tut Experience

Once you arrive at the exhibit on the 2nd floor, you will be checked in. You will want to arrive with about 5-10 minutes early as the line got long after I arrived. It moved quickly though. You can take photos, but no flash photography is allowed. You also can’t chew gum or bring food or drinks into the exhibit.

Once checked in, you will be given a portable audio device that will be your tour guide through the exhibit. It looks like a standard remote control with a speaker built in.

As you proceed through the exhibit you will see several signs with a headphones image and a number. Simply type the number into your audio device and hold the device close to your ear to learn more about what you are seeing.

If I had one gripe about the exhibit, it was that my audio device only worked half the time. Several others around me seemed to have similar problems. It did work during the main presentations though and that was enough for me. It was mostly when looking at specific artifacts that it did not work for me, despite the signs showing it was an audio point of interest.

The main presentations showed movies and the screens were closed captioned so that helped.

Welcome area

The exhibit is on the second floor of COSI. The welcome area is a large room with several murals and maps on the wall. There is a small , but adequate, waiting area to hang in until the main theater area opens up. Here, you can read about the Valley of the Kings and how the tombs were arranged.

From time of check in until the time the introductory presentation started was about 5-10 minutes.

Overview presentation

Once your tour starts, you are taken into a room where you will watch a 5 -minute movie about Howard Carter and how the tomb was discovered. You will use your audio device to learn about the archeological dig up to the point where the tomb was opened. At this time you move into another part of the exhibit which is layed out exactly as the tomb was found.

The imagery in each scene is rich and the presentations are very well done. The combination of dark roomz and the golden replicas being lit up at different times really draws you in. You feel like you are right there with Howard Carter and his team.

King tut coffin and sarcophagus

Pictured is King Tut’s sarcophagus which contained not one, but three coffins. Here the lid from the outer coffin is removed to show the inner coffins.

The outer two coffins were crafted in wood and covered in gold along with many semiprecious stones.

Artifact Displays

Once you finish the main presentations you will exit into a larger room where you can see life size replicas of the 4 shrines. These are highly ornate and each one is highly decorative. While they are replicas, you can’t help but feel like they are the real thing.

King Tut’s Burial Site – 4 Shrines and Sarcophagus

The sarcophagus was found inside four shrines. Inside each shrine was another shrine, until you got to the coffins themselves.

king tut outer shrine - columbus, ohio

Outermost Golden Shrine: This shrine, housed all of the remaining shrines, sarcophagus, coffins and mummy, and almost filled the entire room of King Tut’s tomb.

It is about nine feet high and sixteen feet long. 

Below (L to R) – Third Shrine, Fourth Shrine and Sarcophagus

Third shrine
fourth shrine

King Tut’s Coffins and Death Mask

Once you learn about and pass the shrines, you come to life size replicas of King Tut’s coffins. Here you will find outer coffins that surrounded inner coffins that ultimately surround a gold coffin containing King Tutankhamun himself. You will also get to see a replica of the death mask he was buried with.

These are beautiful and probably the highlight of the exhibit. My pictures below do not do this justice. The level of detail on each coffin is extraordinary.

outer coffin display - COSI
Inner Coffin display - COSI
deat mask display - COSI

Tomb Artifacts

Once you pass the coffins and mask you reach the last part of COSI’s King Tut exhibit. Here you will find 100’s of artifacts and burial items such as jewelry, his golden chariot, throne, statues, sandals, and more. Here I only show a few of the items:

king tut artifacts - sandles and finger/toe coverings
king tut display COSI showing statues
king tut display COSI - throne
King tut display - COSI showing chariot

Final Thoughts

I really liked the exhibit. I felt it was the highlight of my COSI visit. I have been to COSI several times over the past 30 years and have seen lots of exhibits. This one, in my opinion, is currently the attraction to see at COSI. Very well done and educational!