King Tut can't go home again. That was the talk at a lucheon yesterday as Jihan Sadat, the wife of Egyptian President Anwat Sadat, announced a multimillion-dollar fund-raiser to renovate two museums in Egypt.
The 55 treasures of King Tut now travelling in the United States have become accustomed to the climated controlled luxury of American museums, it appears, and would probably be damaged if returned to the Cairo Museum in its present dusty, non-air-conditioned state.
"The Cairo Museum is very small, we expect to need more room when other archeological excavations are done. And we need to restore the Solar Boat Museum, a great tourist attraction," said Jihan Sadat.
The fund-raising effort is a joint Egyptian-American project backed by monetary and professional support of the American Jewish community. Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, is the honorary American chairman.
Though the formal announcement of the drive was made yesterday, the committee has been working quietly for several months. The World Bank has committed an $8 million loan, at 3/4 percent interest, and American businesses and individuals have made contributions. The Coca-Cola Corp. has pledged $500,000 and Washington businessman Bernard Goldstein has pledged $25,000 in Israeli bonds for the project.
The committee plans to raise $4 million, the amount fo the Egyptian government's commitment to the World Bank, said drive president Esther Coopersmith.
Another participant in the fund-raising is Yankel Ginzburg, a Washington-based artist, who hopes to raise $600,000 through a series of graphics.
The luncheon at the Fairfax Hotel was attended by Jean Young, wife of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, Lee Kimche, head of the Institute of Museum Services, Richard Holbrooke, undersecretary of state for the Far East, Bernard Bothmar, the country's leading Egyptologist and representative of the museums where the King Tut exhibition has been or will be shown. After King Tut's current stary at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibit goes to San Francisco, Canada and Germany.
At this time, said Jihan Sadat during a brieg question-and-answer sission, she has no plans to visit Israel. "I will go when I receive an invitation," she said, smiling.