Pharaoh: King of Egypt Exhibition at Dorset County MuseumFriday, October 7th, 2011
Dorchester has long been known as one of the best places in the UK to see remains from the Roman Empire and the Iron Age Celts, and this month it will become a home to yet another great ancient civilisation. On October 15th the Dorset County Museum will open its doors to the glittering treasures of Ancient Egypt, as part of a national tour of the British Museum’s Pharaoh: King of Egypt Exhibition.
The exhibition will consist of 130 carefully selected objects, including sculptures, palace ornaments, papyri and many other fascinating artefacts. This exhibition will be the first time these objects, the oldest of which are over 3,500 years old, have been seen outside of London, so it really is a massive coup for the County Museum.
The objects tell the incredible story of Ancient Egypt, a civilisation characterised by wealth, power and a bit of an unhealthy pre-occupation with death and the afterlife. This superstitious side will be particularly evident in the Dorchester exhibition, with a wealth of funerary objects including a giant tomb guardian statue from the Valley of the Kings.
The exhibition will also give an insight into day to day life in the kingdom, with tablets and papyrus documenting the family life, diplomacy and military campaigns of the Pharaohs and their subjects. The objects will highlight the incredible lifestyles of Egyptian royalty, including Rameses II, who was said to have fathered over 80 children – it’s a miracle he had any time left to rule!
The process of actually bringing these several thousand year old artefacts to Dorchester is in itself no mean feat. The objects first need to be packed and secured with military precision in order that they can be transported down to Dorset without any wear and tear. The museum assistants use a special kind of conservation-approved foam called Plastazote, carefully moulded to keep the objects secure and limit the amount of vibration and friction they are exposed to.
When you consider all this work required to ensure the precious Egyptian cargo can be brought here unscathed, it is a real credit to the County Museum that they have been chosen to host this incredible exhibition, and a great thing for our town as a whole.
The museum will be celebrating the exhibition with a whole programme of Egyptian-themed events throughout the Autumn and Winter, and we’ll be keeping you informed of those on our Dorchester events page.
If your knowledge of Ancient Egyptians currently conjures up only images of people staring at cats and doing a funny sideways walk, this is a great opportunity to expand your understanding of their fascinating culture and mythology. The exhibition will be open to the public from next Saturday until 22nd January, so please help to spread the word and make it a great success.