Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed
Since I heard about this temporary exhibition I have been looking forward to it; for obvious reasons: I am still very much interested in animal mummies. The first day for the public was 8 October. I wasted no time, took the afternoon off and went to Manchester Museum to see the exhibition for myself. I was not disappointed.
Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed is a small, but very well presented exhibition. Both are very good points, I think, because it seems that nowadays people lose interest very quickly. This being a small exhibition means you don’t have to spend a lot of time there if you don’t want to (even though I think you should) and it being well presented means that there is something interesting for every visitor.
The set up is very logical. It starts with a short introduction on what kind of animals you could find in Egypt, followed by a few examples of animal deities. Via an explanation of various types of animal mummies and interpretations in art you make your way to displays with quite a number of animal mummies. At this point it gets more detailed. The emphasis shifts towards technology: how do we know what is in the wrappings and what else can we learn from scientific research? It all ends with a bit of fun: if you want you can send a message to a (or several) ancient Egyptian god(s). And yes, of course I did!
The fact that I have an interest in ancient Egypt and specifically in animal mummies means that I am biased. Manchester Museum being my second favourite museum also adds to that. Thankfully I did not go alone. I brought a friend who has never been to Manchester Museum before and knows absolutely nothing about animal mummies, or ancient Egypt, for that matter.
I was quite happy to hear that he enjoyed the exhibition and felt his lack of knowledge on the subject did not stop him from understanding the information. He also did not feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. The possibilities to interact with the exhibition is another thing he appreciated. Let’s face it: most people love to ‘look’ with their hands.
On this occasion I have not bought the book that goes with this exhibition, so I can’t review that at the moment. I fully intend to visit again (I have another friend who is interested) and buy the book then. A review of it will follow.
I have mentioned in a previous post that Manchester Museum is quite good at using technology and media (social or otherwise) to promote their collection and exhibitions. This is a very good example. As if waiting almost two years for this excellent exhibition wasn’t enough, the curator (Dr Campbell Price) managed to wet my appetite (and probably other people’s as well) by publishing several blog posts on Egypt at the Manchester Museum.
My verdict is very positive, but don’t just take my word for it. There is a guest book at the end of the exhibition and on the afternoon of the first day there were already plenty of positive entries. I think this is an exhibition you cannot miss.
1. Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed – press release
2. Animal Mummies #2: Animals in the Ancient Egyptian landscape
3. Animal Mummies #3: Giving Gifts to the Gods in Ancient Egypt
4. Animal Mummies #4: Travellers, Collectors and Souvenirs
5. Animal Mummies #5: Seeing inside the wrappings
6. Animal Mummies #6: Making experimental mummies in Manchester
7. Animal Mummies #7: Micro Encounters with Animal Mummies