Friday, July 16, 2004

Ancient Egypt

My brother and I attended the Milwaukee Public Museum's exhibit on "The Quest for Immortality."  This exhibit was originally put together by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC with major pieces coming from The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  The official explanation, from the National Gallery of Art describes it like this
"From the earliest times, Egyptians denied the physical impermanence of life. They formulated a remarkably complex set of religious beliefs and funneled vast material resources into the quest for immortality. This exhibition focuses on the understanding of the afterlife among Egyptians some 3,000 years ago, in the period of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC) through the Late Period (664-332 BC). The New Kingdom marked the beginning of an era of great wealth, power, and stability for Egypt, and was accompanied by a burst of cultural activity, much of which was devoted to the quest for eternal life.
      The exhibition is divided into six sections: Journey to the Afterworld, The New Kingdom, The Royal Tomb, Tombs of Nobles, The Realm of the Gods, and The Tomb of Thutmose III." - NGA:The Quest for Immortality

The tour included an audio explanation with Jeremy Irons.  Overall, it was a basic introduction to the funerary myths of the ancient Egyptians, though not created for the viewing pleasure of children.  Most of the items were placed on single pedestal, without context.
One nifty item that I bought was Hieroglyphics for Travelers  by Ronald Fellows and Thomas Mudloff.  I always wanted to be able to follow the glyphs, now maybe I'll be able to read a few names.  Wish I had found this book before we visited Egypt, it would have made the temple visits more interesting.
But, since I was reminiscing about what activities I've used with students about Ancient Egypt, I was reminded of three great websites by the British Museum.  These sites are targeted for Upper Elem. to Middle School kids and are quite fun.  The sites reveal content information in a interesting and graphic way. (You need ShockWave to run the games/stories.)
Ancient Mesopotamia
ancient India
Ancient Egypt 

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