The fictional and fearless Egyptologist Lara Croft might be exciting to watch in movies or in video games, but the real and resourceful research scientist Jennifer Houser Wegner is curator of a new exhibition, Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display, opening Saturday, February 23, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology (3260 South Street). So your excitement doesn’t have to be virtual.
Visitors will get to walk in the footsteps of an archaeologist, exploring more than 200 incredible objects in the collection that have never been seen by the public. As Houser Wegner says, “Unlike most exhibitions about ancient Egypt… [we] provide an insider’s look into how objects are excavated, conserved, and stored.”
The 6,000-square-foot exhibit is divided into three galleries. The first asks: What was life like in ancient Egypt? What do these ancient sculptures of gods, royalty, and ordinary people tell us? In the second gallery, visitors are transported to the Old Kingdom, from 2613 BCE to the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE (known as the “Age of the Pyramids”). You’ll see magical model boats, a spectacular glazed ceramic necklace, and the 2,000-year-old mummies of a young woman and child. The final gallery, the Artifact Lab, shows conservation in action: discover how archeologists dig up these amazing treasures and then preserve them. Artifacts include gold jewelry and a detailed throne room of the Palace of Merenptah (the 13th son of Ramesses II). The columns and portals will be erected at full height in the Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries, as a cornerstone of the Penn Museum’s Building Transformation, which showcases updates to the museum.
Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display will also offer “open window” times for visitors to talk to the conservators and ask questions: Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 to 11:30am and 1:30 to 2pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 12:30pm and 3 to 3:30pm. You might want to schedule your visit to take advantage of this. Visit the Penn Museum's website or call 215.898.4000 for more information.