Legacy of the exhibition

30 March – 30 December 1972

Exhibition closed


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Conservation work in Egypt

The profits from Treasures of Tutankhamun were donated to a major cultural project in Egypt. The construction of a new dam at Aswan threatened several ancient sites with destruction and an international rescue campaign was organised to save the monuments in the area.

£657,731 was raised from the London exhibition towards the UNESCO campaign to rescue the ancient temples of Philae.

The campaign involved a massive engineering operation: a coffer-dam was built around Philae island and, once the water had been pumped out, the buildings were dismantled and reassembled nearby. In total, 37,363 blocks of stone were moved and the temples reopened in 1980.

Boosting public interest in Egypt

The exhibition intensified public interest in ancient Egypt. This resulted in a boost in tourism to Egypt and an increased demand for books, films and exhibitions on the subject. The interest generated in 1972 has continued to grow up to the present day.

Further major exhibitions

The success of Treasures of Tutankhamun opened the way for further major exhibitions at the British Museum and other cultural institutions in Britain.

Find out more

Howard Carter’s records of the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun can be consulted on-line at  www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/4tut.html.

Archival material relating to the 1972 exhibition is held at the British Museum, both in the Central Archives and in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

The objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun are normally housed in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (also known as the Egyptian Museum), Cairo.

Title page of the Philae Salvage album (detail)
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    Title page of the Philae Salvage album (detail)

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    A letter from UNESCO about the Museum's donation to the Philae salvage project

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    The coffer-dam surrounding the Philae temples before the pumping out of the water

Title page of the Philae Salvage album (detail)