The King Tutorial Live Presentation

November 21, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Canopic stopper from King Tut's tomb

I want to tell folks in the Toronto, Southern Ontario and Western Tier of Upper State New York that the King Tut exhibit has opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. It will run from now until April 18, 2010 and is called Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs. This is the 2nd of two exhibits currently on tour in North America. The other one is currently on display in San Francisco.

The exhibit features over 130 artifacts from ancient Egyptian history of which fifty come from the tomb of King Tut. The exhibit is excellent in content but heavy in written presentation. Attendees could be overwhelmed by the amount of information presented to them in the dimly lit and potentially crowded conditions of the exhibit. That is why I started giving live presentations to schools and groups. The presentation is called The King Tutorial and it is a primer for anyone planning to attend the show.

To learn more about this program, please visit my website at

I would love to come and present to your school or group and help you get the most out of your visit to the King Tut exhibit.




October 21, 2009: Barry Cauchon


Hi all: I have a fondness for Civil War history and the melodic sounds of the banjo. To me, the sound of the banjo and images from the Civil War go hand-in-hand. I’ve always associated the two together. Years ago, my appreciation for the banjo came from an unlikely source …  comedian Steve Martin. He was my first influence to this great instrument.

So last week (October 15), when Steve Martin brought his banjo playing tour to Toronto I had to be there. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is the second Steve Martin concert I’ve been to in 31 years.

The first was at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in August, 1978. Steve was supporting his hugely successful comedy album “Wild and Crazy Guy” and was performing at arena-size venues. I was a big fan of both Steve’s comedy and banjo playing and so I bought a ticket in the nosebleed section. That night Steve came out in an all pink suit and proceeded to entertain about 18,000 of us. Three things from that show stand out in my memory.

The first was when Steve announced that he would perform a magic trick called “The Amazing Disappearing Dime Trick” in which he held up the dime for all of us to see and then made it disappear. Performing a ‘close up’ magic trick to an arena-size audience was nuts, and a true Martin-style comedic moment (if you don’t get the joke, well you just had to be there…sorry). I loved it.

The second thing I remember was when he performed his hit single “King Tut” at the end of the show (an Egyptian icon that I would personally become involved with two decades later when I became the Sr. Project Manager for the 2005 King Tut tour).

Finally, I remember his banjo playing. This was not a big part of his comedy act that night but nonetheless I was really impressed by his playing and decided that I had to have one for myself. I bought my first banjo a short time later. And although I didn’t keep it for long, eventually selling it at a garage sale, the seed was planted for my future.


Now, roll ahead twenty-two years to the year 2000 and I get the urge to play banjo again. I’m older, wiser and now more dedicated. I’m also experiencing a lot of stress in my life at this time. I buy another banjo along with lots of ‘HOW TO’ books and videos and proceed to teach myself in earnest how to play this thing. I even take a few banjo lessons. Within a month, I upgrade that banjo, exchanging it for one that is “really nice”. My stress levels plummet and I realize that the banjo is also an incredible relaxation instrument.

And then things change. The one thing that any musician will tell you about learning to play a musical instrument is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. And I did. But one has to remember that when practicing in a shared household (with my family) you have to be cognizant that what you are hearing in your head is not necessarily what your family is hearing. So I was nicely, but firmly asked to “go practice somewhere else”. Crushed, I felt like a leper being sent away to a reclusive colony. I had to find a place where no one else would hear my ‘plunking’. And I did. I moved myself down into the basement (cold, dingy and dreary) and started practicing there. I soon found that I was I starting to find my rhythm, my pace and the feel of the instrument. And I began to develop some speed in my playing (which is pretty critical for the banjo). I was happy.

But being in the basement (remember – that cold, dingy and dreary place) took its toll and I soon found that my banjo was spending a lot more time in its case than in my hands. Eventually it remained there and has been so for the last three years. I was unhappy.


Steve Martin's new album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo

Steve Martin's new CD called "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo"

Now let’s jump ahead to 2009 and I hear that Steve Martin has released a CD of banjo songs that he wrote himself. I’m intrigued and buy it. The CD is called “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo”. It has sixteen songs of which Steve composed fifteen. I am pleasantly surprised when I listen to it for the first time. Like most fans of this man’s work, I expected a good deal of these to be novelty songs. However, only one song can be considered a Steve Martin novelty song, and personally, that one is great called ‘Late for School’. But the other songs are genuinely wonderful banjo compositions, featuring not only Steve Martin but other exceptional musicians and singers. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire CD.

When I heard that Steve was going to do a limited live concert tour to support the CD and that Toronto was to be one of the stops, I jumped at the chance to see him. This time I was not in the nosebleed section but just a few rows from the front … center stage.

To open the show, comedic writer Dave Barry came out and introduced Steve and did a 15 minute ‘one on one’ interview with him. Odd, but this was a Steve Martin concert after all. I did hear Steve mention that it was ‘fill’ (which could be true as his back up band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, was running late) but I know they do this ‘on stage’ interview at all his concerts. Whatever the case, we got to sit and listen to Dave and Steve chat for a bit and then Steve played a song from his CD . For those folks in attendance that night who were expecting Steve to do a stand up comedy act, I think he won them over when he showed them just how good of a banjo player and composer he really is. Steve is so good in fact that in the past he has shared the stage with banjo greats like Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka to name a few. His banjo compositions are solid and entertaining and I personally went to see him play these songs. What was fun for me, and the audience, was that Steve is still Steve and he injected humor regularly throughout the night resulting in a ‘variety show’ rather than just a straight forward musical show.

Steve’s last encore of the night surprised me. He did a bluegrass version of ‘King Tut’ (which sounded quite similar to the original). For me, I didn’t feel he needed to add that to the repertoire. His banjo songs clearly held their own and if I had any complaint about the show at all was that he didn’t play one of my favorites from his CD called Pretty Flowers. But show business is show business and I guess you have to give the people what they want so King Tut was in and Pretty Flowers was out. I tip my hat to you, sir. Your work is solid.

As an aside, King Tut is in my life again. The second exhibit from the King Tut touring franchise is scheduled to come to Toronto from November 24 to April 18, 2010 and I’m giving talks to students at local schools to help prime them for the exhibit. I call the presentation The King Tutorial. Steve sings King Tut again and I’m giving Tut talks. WEIRD.

So Steve and I again cross paths. It’s all very strange to me. Is it meant to be? Is it fate? I may never know but I still wonder about these kind of things…LOL.

Stewie from "The Family Guy"

Stewie from "The Family Guy"

I think it is safe to say that my ‘Banjo Rebirth’ took place due to Steve’s (not Stewie’s) new CD and concert. My interest is once again peaked to play the banjo. So tonight I will take my banjo out of its case for the first time in over three years and I plan to get really ‘comfy’ with it. And as I do, I will think of Steve Martin and the influences that this man has had on my life over the years. He has influenced my sense of humor. He has influenced my interest in the banjo and strangely, he may have even influenced my involvement with King Tut. For all this, I want to say “Thank you Steve. You’ve brought joy to my life not only in the form of music and humor but also with your personal thoughts on the rights of Australian bushmen to be allowed to smoke in their own huts without reprisals”. Fascinating stuff for sure.

If there is anything I can request from Steve Martin, should we ever meet, it will be to grant me one wish from my own personal bucket list.

BUCKET LIST ITEM #4: Get a FREE banjo lesson from Steve Martin.

Please Steve. Grant me this one wish…please…for FREE!     

Life is good my friends. Have fun and find your joy.




June 17, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: In 2004-2005, I was the Sr. Project Manager for the current King Tut exhibit (which I affectionately call Tut 1). And although I am no longer working on that project, I do keep up with the folks involved and see how things are going from time to time. So I thought I’d give you an update on what is happening. The two King Tut tours are on the move once again.

Tut 1 called Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs will open on June 27, 2009 in San Francisco at the de Young Museum. The exhibit  is currently scheduled to run until March 28, 2010.  The city is abuzz with excitement about having the exhibit back in town. The de Young Museum was one of seven museums in the United States that hosted the original King Tut exhibit back in the 1970s. 


Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs first opened in Basel, Switzerland in 2004, followed by a run in Bonn, Germany. The tour was then taken over by a group from the United States (Arts and Exhibitions International, AEG Live and the National Geographic Society) and opened its first show n Los Angeles in June, 2005. The following cities have hosted the exhibit:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • London, England
  • Dallas, TX
  • and now is headed to San Francisco

Tut 2 called Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohswill open on June 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Childrens’ Museum of Indianapolis. It is currently scheduled to run until October 25, 2009. From there, the tour will continue to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and run from November 24, 2009 to April 18, 2010.


This tour began in Vienna, Austria at the Volkerkunde Museum Vienna and was on display from March 9, 2008 to September 28, 2008. It was exhibited under the name Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs. After that, the show traveled to the United States and now is named Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs. The exhibit has, or will visit the following cities:

  • Vienna, Austria (ended)
  • Atlanta, GA (ended)
  • Indianapolis, IN (opening June 27, 2009)
  • Toronto, ON, Canada (opening November 24, 2009).

Both Tut 1 and Tut 2 each have over 130 objects from a variety of Egyptian sites including 50 of which come from Tutankhamun’s tomb.

What these exhibits ARE NOT displaying

Two of the biggest misconceptions about these two exhibits are that the following artifacts are included and on display:

  • King Tut’s mummy
  • Golden Mask

This is absolutely not the case. Regrettably, neither of these artifacts are included in the current tours. In fact, Tutankhamun’s mummy has never even left its tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt since its discovery in 1922. And although thousands of people visit the tomb annually, the mummy was never on public display there until November of 2007. It was then that King Tut’s mummy was put in a special climate-controlled display case inside the tomb where visitors are now able to view it.

Picture 475

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) stands over the mummy of Tutankhamun now on display in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt.

The Golden Mask is also not on tour with these two exhibits. It remains on display at The Egyptian Museum in Cairo. However the mask was part of the original exhibit Treasures of Tutankhamun that toured in the 1970s. Many people remember that blockbuster exhibit because of the Golden Mask and they assumed that it would tour again with these new shows. Unfortunately the Egyptian government stated that it would never again allow the mask to leave Egypt as it is considered a national treasure and must remain safely in Egypt.

The icon often used in the current advertisements for these new exhibits confused many people because it looks like the Golden Mask but in fact is a “golden canopic coffinette”. The coffinettes (4 in total) were used to hold one of Tutankhamun’s internal organs after the embalming process was completed. They are amazing in detail to see in person. They have similar features to the Golden Mask but are tiny in comparison. The head and shoulders of the Golden Mask is 54cm high (21-1/4″)  while the height of an entire canopic coffinette only measures 39cm high (15-3/8″). Each exhibit has one of these coffinettes on display.

Golden Mask

King Tut's Golden Mask is not on tour and remains in The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Canopic coffinette. Each touring exhibit features one of these wonderfully intricate artifacts which are only 15-3/8" tall.

Canopic coffinette. Each touring exhibit features one of these wonderfully intricate artifacts which are only 15-3/8" tall.

To buy tickets to the exhibits, go to



November 17, 2008. Barry Cauchon:

This past weekend I was priveledged to speak at the Western Southern Tier Council of the Social Studies conference in Corning, New York. It was hosted, and attended, by a wonderful group of professional history educators whose conference goal was to teach, learn, share and go away with ideas that they can use in their students’ education. I was proud to be a part of it.

My role was to present “A Little Touch of History’ in a live format. I did this in two-parts. First, I shared content and stories from my professional life as a Senior Project Manager in the corporate, museum and tour exhibit industry. I focused on three projects: the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Princess Diana: A Celebration and Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs (the King Tut tour).

The second part of my presentation was to pass out real artifacts to the audience and explain my belief that history should be interactive. If the students can experience history by way of ‘touch and tell’, rather than ‘show and tell’, I believe that it will spur them on to deeper interest in the subjects and lead to further study on their own. In real life, this approach has always worked for me and so I think that it will do the same for the students.

I enjoyed the conference and met a lot of great people and can’t say how happy I was to be a part of the event.

My personal thanks go out to the WSTCSS Executive Committee (see below) for having me. And especially, I want to thank Tom Jackson (Treasurer) and his wife, Christine for their hospitality and on-going warm and wonderful friendships. These things I find grateful to have in my life. 

Message to Students: For student visitors to this blog, I learned something very important this weekend. Your teachers really care about you! All weekend long, I overheard them talking to other teachers about their classes and would hear them say things like, “My kids are great!” and “My kids did this last week!”. They are really proud of you. So keep up the good work. And while you are at it, be proud of your teachers too.

Message to Teachers: Keep on rockin’!

The Western Southern Tier Council for the Social Studies Executive Committee


Thanks for having me.




September 30, 2008: Barry Cauchon

I thought it would be fun to let you know what the TOP TWELVE (12) articles are from my blog based on statistics gathered from your visits during the last 4-1/2 months. Many of my articles have been very well received while others, not so much. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Here are the articles and their stats.


1.  Lincoln Penny Turns 100 Years Old in 2009 ………….. 747 views

2.  Gettysburg National Military Park & Historic Area …….. 366 views

3.  Lincoln Photos. Real, Fake or ‘Who Knows’! ………….. 357 views

4.  Did You Know (Parts 1 – 10) Abraham Lincoln ………… 264 views

5.  Bockscar … The Forgotten Plane that Dropped the Atomic Bomb ………….……………………………………………………… 264 views

6.  Lincoln Assassination Artifacts (where to find them) ….. 235 views

7.  Lincoln in Death…A New Photo…Research Project ….. 194 views

8.  Did You Know (Part 1) Abraham Lincoln ……………….. 187 views

9.  Did You Know (Part 10) Abraham Lincoln …………..….. 169 views

10. New Lincoln Photo … A Very Special Announcement … 112 views

11. D-LZ 129 Hindenburg … “Just the Facts Ma’am”! …..… 110 views

12. Lincoln at Gettysburg Photos Discovered in 2006 ……… 98 views

Some of my favorites:

Here are some of my favorite articles that you may not have read yet. Enjoy.

a. The Fame of Major General Lew Wallace

b. The Lincoln Life Masks

c. Hangman Christian Rath: Incompetence, Complicity or Just Common Practice

d. Harold Holzer Comments on ‘Lincoln in Death’ Photos

e. The Lincoln Conspirators – How Old Were They at the Time of the Assassination?

f.  King Tut’s Mummy on Public Display in Egypt

g. Did You Know (Parts 11 – 14) Abraham Lincoln

NOTE: For those of you who don’t know, I keep a summary of all the DID YOU KNOW postings and have created pages for them. So if you don’t want to go through each and every posting, you can see the exact copies of the articles under “DID YOU KNOW (Parts 1 – 10) Abraham Lincoln” and “DID YOU KNOW (Parts 11-14) Abraham Lincoln”. Both are linked here in this article.

Let me know what your favorite article is and tell me what you think.





If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 



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September 15, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: With so many fantastic exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world, it’s sometimes hard to keep on top of what is going on out there. The article below covers an event that occurred late last year. It did not happen in a museum or a gallery but rather in a tomb. If you missed this one now’s a good time to catch up.


King Tut's mummy on public display in the Valley of the Kings.

King Tut's mummy on public display at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

In the 85 years since the tomb of King Tut was discovered, the body has never gone on public display. Although all the treasures from the tomb have been removed, the mummy itself has been kept in it’s original sarcophagus in the burial chamber. In late 2007, the boy king was finally brought out of hiding and put on public display for all to see.


On November 4, 1922, Howard Carter and his team were excavating the tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt. The plan was to excavate the ground beneath some ancient huts, found near the base of the tomb. While digging the ground beneath these huts they came upon the first of twelve steps that would eventually lead into the undiscovered tomb of King Tut.

Unlike most of other tombs in the Valley, which had been robbed of all their treasures, the tomb of Tutankhamun was almost completely intact. Evidence showed that it had only been broken into twice in it’s 3300 year existence. Very little had been removed (although definitely some treasures were taken). However, the golden treasures within the burial chamber, such as the Golden Mask and other jewelry which covered the body, could not be reached by tomb raiders due to the construction of the burial tomb itself. Carter was ecstatic when he reached the walls of the chamber and discovered that the seals had not been broken meaning the mummy and it’s contents were still 100% inside. This proved to be true.


Carter and his financial backers had far more interest in the golden treasure rather than the mummy itself. When they first started examining the contents of the sarcophagus, they noted that the entire mummy was encased in a hardened resin which had been poured over the body during embalming. To remove the jewelry and other treasures buried with the body, they had to dismember it. The mummy was cut in half at the pelvis and then separated into 18 pieces.

If this initial damage was not bad enough, years of tourists entering the tomb created high levels of trapped humidity and heat. This created an ideal environment for mummy-damaging bacteria and mold to grow.

1968 & 1978 X-RAYS

The mummy has been X-rayed twice. Once in 1968 and again in 1978. Other than these two events, the mummy had remained undisturbed until 2005. It is estimated that only about 60 people have viewed the body since the time of it’s discovery.

2005 – CT SCAN

Move ahead in time to 2005. As part of an initiative to bring King Tut back into the public eye, and to prepare for the upcoming US tour of the Tutankhamun exhibit, the Egyptian government and National Geographic planned to take a CT scan of the mummy to determine if the king had been murdered or not. The scanner was brought to the tomb and the body scanned. During the operation, the Egyptian specialists noticed that Tutankhamun’s mummy had decayed far faster than anyone had expected. At the rate it was deteriorating, they believed it would be completely consumed within the next 50 years.

The Egyptian government not only wanted to save the mummy from further damage but also wished to find a better way to bring in the critical tourist dollars. So they decided to put the mummy on public display, within an environmentally controlled showcase, inside the tomb.


On November 4, 2007, exactly 85 years to the day that Carter’s men found the first step, a team of Egyptian specialists from several institutions removed the body of Tutankhamun from his sarcophagus and carefully transferred him to his new home in an adjacent antechamber.

The mummy was placed inside a high-tech display glass case made by Glasbau Hahn of Frankfurt, Germany. I had the pleasure of working for Glasbau Hahn for twelve months in 2005-6 and they are one of the leaders in museum showcase fabrication in the world. This showcase is airtight, with humidity and temperature control. It is also filled with a nitrogen-rich mixture that is lethal to bacteria and mold. These features will protect the mummy from further decay and allow the public to get it’s first look at the boy king since his discovery so many years ago.

If you get over to Egypt and get a chance to visit the tomb of King Tut, please let us know what you thought.



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May 31, 2008 – by Barry Cauchon 

Having been the original Senior Project Manager for the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs”, the renowned King Tut touring exhibit, I’d like to do a follow up on where the exhibit presently is and headed next. The collection has been shown in Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadephia and is presently at the O2 in London, England until August 31, 2008. From there, it will travel back to the United States where it opens for a six month run at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas. Showdates are from October 3, 2008 to May 17, 2009.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of this exhibit, the producers and their partners created a second Tut exhibit. This one is presently showing in Vienna, Austria at the Volkerkunde Museum Vienna under the name of “Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs” and runs until Sept. 28, 2008. The exhibit features 50 artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb as well as more than 70 artifacts representing other pharaohs and notables.

From Vienna, the exhibit will travel next to the Atlantic Civic Center in Atlanta, Georgia where it will be shown under the banner “Tutankhamun: The Golden King & The Great Pharaohs”. Showdates are from November 15, 2008 to May 22, 2009.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is slotted next on the tour from June 2009 to October 2009.

It’s going to be a busy year for King Tut!


Perot family member give $50 million to planned Dallas science museum

By MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News

Friday, May 30, 2008 Summary: The children of Ross Perot, Sr. and his wife Margot have donated $50 million in their honor to the building ofthe Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas, Texas. For the full story, go to:

More to come later.