On Saturday, the Powerhouse Museum will open its doors to the ‘Egyptian Mummies – Exploring Ancient Lives’ exhibition. This world premiere of the exhibition in collaboration with the British Museum took two years of planning, and features six mummies and two hundred artefacts — some of which have never been publicly displayed before.
The curators of the British Museum stressed how great care was taken to ensure that the mummies were handled and displayed with dignity in mind.
The treatment of the mummies has progressed over many decades. Whereas in the early years of archaeology mummies had been simply unwrapped and destroyed, the human remains are now treated with great care and this makes walking through the exhibition feel like a historical adventure.
All six mummies have been ‘unwrapped’ with the help of non-invasive computed tomography (CT), to provide an insight into the lives the people led. Forensic archaeology can therefore now discover the injuries and health status of the subjects, and the exhibition shows what the insides of the mummies contain by displaying the scans and utilising 3D visualisation technology.
This technology provides the visitor with a more holistic understanding of what the mummies on display can teach us about this unique period in history.
The curators focus on helping visitors also understand more about the individual person beyond the mummified remains – including a child. This is quite unusual because at the time very few children where mummified.
Dolla Merrillees, director of MAAS, says, ‘This is a rare occasion to get a close-up look at the mummies of the British Museum.’ And Australians are the first to discover this fascinating exhibition. But it is also an interactive exhibition, where the visitors themselves can ‘virtually peel back the layers of history’ to discover what lies beneath.
It is a truly unique experience that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. The exhibition will leave you awestruck and give children a new perspective on history. To make it even more interesting and interactive, there are plans for a 20 metre archaeological dig pit, where children can unearth objects as archaeologists themselves.
Monique Pitzer was born and raised in Germany, where she also started working as a freelance journalist and freelance writer. She moved to Australia and started a business as a writer, translator, and tutor.