Howard Carter enters Tutankhamen’s Tomb, 1922

On today’s date in 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon  became the first people to enter “King Tut’s” tomb (also known as KV62)  in 3000 years. Archaeologist Carter’s search for and excavation of KV62 was financed by Lord Canarvon.

In 1907, Carter began working for Lord Canarvon, who took up archaeology as a hobby after an automobile accident left him in bad health. Their work was interrupted at the onset of World War I, but in 1917, they began excavating the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Carter examines Tut’s coffin with an assistant.

According to Carter, several artifacts found with Tutankhamen’s name on them seemed to point to a certain location for excavation. Initially, Carter did not have much luck. Lord Canarvon decided to stop the search after 5 years of searching in the Valley of the Kings without much to show for it. However, Carter pleaded to dig for one more season and Lord Canarvon obliged.

And by the fourth day of work, Carter’s crew found a step cut into the rock- a step leading to to King Tut’s tomb. It wasn’t until three weeks later that Lord Canarvon arrived to enter the tomb with Carter.

They discovered a tomb filled with wealth and treasures that took eight years to empty (its contents were transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo).

A glimpse of the ornateness of KV26.

In April 1923, Lord Canarvon died from an infected mosquito bite, which led to rumors of a “Mummy Curse.” That much is debatable, but the historic significance of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb is incontestable.

“The Mousetrap” opens at Ambassador’s Theatre, 1952

“The Mousetrap” still plays in the West End of London at St. Martin’s Theatre.

Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit play, “The Mousetrap,” first premiered in the West End of London at the Ambassador’s Theatre today in 1952, and now plays in St. Martin’s Theatre 60 years later.

“The Mousetrap” is the longest running show of any kind, and is celebrating its diamond anniversary this year.

Here is the trailer. I think it looks intriguing and fun! What do you think?

Cast of “The Mousetrap” looking quite guilty.

We Have Splashdown: Apollo 12 Returns Safely, 1969

Apollo 12 was the second manned mission to the moon and the sixth manned flight in the Apollo program. The Apollo 12 astronauts retrieved instruments from the Surveyor III spacecraft which had landed on the moon in 1967 in order to examine the long term effects of exposure to the lunar environment.

The Apollo 12 command module close to splashdown in Pacific Ocean. Photo from http://science.ksc.nasa.gov.

After 31.5 hours in orbit and 89 hours in lunar orbit, the crew successfully returned to Earth; their naval recovery ship was the USS Hornet.

Navy assists Apollo 12 crew after splashdown, which occurred at 3:58 pm EST.

Happy Saturday!

Rachel Whiteread Wins British Turner Prize, 1993

The Turner Prize was created in 1984 to celebrate outstanding contemporary artists. The Turner Prize, organized by Tate Britain, goes to a British artist under 50 years of age in recognition of an excellent exhibition or other presentation of their art in the past year. (If you’re interested in British contemporary art or British art in general, check out the Tate collection of British art).

In 1993, Rachel Whiteread became the first woman to win the Turner Prize for her concrete cast of a London house, entitled House. This piece was very controversial, and the night Whiteread won the Turner Prize, she learned it would be demolished. In all fairness, Whiteread contractually agreed to the demolition of House eventually, but she was still dismayed to hear that its time on display was not extended.

House, the cast of an East End of London house about to be demolished, won Whiteread the Turner Prize.

Ironically enough, Whiteread won the K Foundation Art Award for “worst artist of the year” after winning the Turner Prize. Unlike the Turner Prize, the K Foundation was described by author James F. English as “hostile philanthropy,” perhaps trying to prove a point that what some saw as art, others saw as rubbish, or how the Turner Prize was supposedly fixed.

Judenplatz Holocaust memorial, 2000- Another one of Whiteread’s iconic sculptures. This austere concrete structure is an inverted library, meant to evoke harsh and unsettling emotions.

What do you think of Whiteread’s art? Love it? Hate it? Either way, it’s pretty cool how she made a name for herself- and blazed the trail for other women- in the contemporary art world by winning the Turner Prize.

Further reading:

For more information on House and its controversy, this article is excellent.

If you would like to read what Whiteread thought of House, this article is interesting.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

The Assassination of JFK, 1963

On November 22, 1963, America’s beloved 35th president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas during a presidential motorcade at Dealey Plaza.

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy in Dallas motorcade.

The afternoon of the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, and was also held in custody for the assassination of Kennedy. However, he was never tried in court because nightclub owner Jack Ruby murdered Oswald as he was being transferred from police headquarters to the county jail. After a ten-month investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald who acted alone.

That is all anyone knows for sure. Countless conspiracy theories surround the assassination of JFK, most claiming that Oswald did not assassinate the president, or that he did not act alone.

Lee Harvey Oswald

None of the above information that I found in my research was new to me. Living near Dallas, I was told about Kennedy’s assassination before I was even old enough to fathom the gravity of the event. I didn’t understand why my grandparents wanted my family to take them to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza  when they visited from Massachusetts, or why people at the museum were crying. And while I will never fully comprehend the stunned sadness of the nation on November 22, 1963, I’m beginning to understand how devastating the event truly was.

The Kennedy family mourns the death of President John F. Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy was the youngest president, and, unfortunately, the president with the shortest life. No matter how you paint the picture of JFK’s death, it is always a tragic one.

So today, let’s forget about conspiracies, politics, and resentment. Let’s remember our 35th president as the vibrant, patriotic man he was. And let’s give thanks.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day Greetings!

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God… I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863.

Fun fact: Sarah Josepha Hale, editor and writer of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” campaigned for a national day of thanksgiving. She wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln on September 28, 1863, which apparently worked. Yay!

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

-Emily