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DVDs Featured Exhibit at Museums

7 Jun, 2005 By: Angelique Flores

King Tutankhamun's coffin

Schools are just about closed for the summer, but that doesn't mean the learning has to stop.

Museums and art galleries provide a source of edutainment not only through their exhibits, but through the videos provided in their shops.

“Museums are clamoring for DVDs,” said Jere Rae-Mansfield, CFO and managing partner of Monterey Media. Because the slimmer DVDs are taking the place of the thicker VHS tapes, museum gift shops have room for more units on their shelves.

The highly promoted exhibit featuring the tomb of King Tutankhamun comes to the United States this year, 26 years after the last big King Tut exhibit made headlines. Highlighting the comeback and some of the latest historical footage, Monterey Video is debuting Tut the Boy King on DVD with new bonus material.

The exhibit, “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” opens June 16 in Los Angeles. The extensive collection showcases more than 130 treasures and artifacts from King Tut's tomb and other Valley of the Kings tombs and ancient sites of Egypt.

The DVD's release was moved up to Aug. 2 (prebook July 5) because museums wanted to carry it in their gift shops while the exhibit was running, Rae-Mansfield said. The DVD, priced at $19.95, will be available at most museums on the exhibit's 27-month tour. Narrated by Orson Welles, the disc features the recorded moment when Tut's tomb was first opened as well as what excavators found.

As with other DVDs in Monterey's upcoming slate of releases — The Louvre, The Incas Remembered and China & The Forbidden CityTut includes a personal photo gallery. Different from the usual photos purchased from archives, these galleries are snapshots taken from various personal family albums.

“It gave me a different insight into visiting Egypt and the tomb,” Rae-Mansfield said. “These photo albums allow people to share a more personal experience.”

Adding a DVD to the museum experience makes both the exhibit and the DVD more compelling, she said.

This isn't the first time Monterey has tied in its videos to exhibits. The supplier's Solomon Northup's Odyssey toured with an exhibit of photographs from the film's director, Gordon Parks.

Literary titles on such authors as Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson also are placed in museum gift shops and university bookstores near where the authors lived. Monterey prices the DVDs at about $20 each so they can be affordable at sellthrough.

Other distributors, such as Kultur, Home Vision Entertainment, Koch and The Disinformation Company also have long been suppliers of videos to museum gift shops.

Among Home Vision's titles that have tied in to exhibits are Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre, Chihuly: Gardens and Glass and They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of World War II.

“I believe that when you take [DVDs] back with you, you can relive it, share the experience with others and open up various discussions,” Rae-Mansfield said.

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