Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Egypt: Gift of the Nile

The brand new Surrey Museum in British Columbia, Canada is a well proportioned and designed museum with a cheerful staff and with entrance fees of $2.50 for children and $5.00 for adults is a must see for locals and tourists.

Gift of the Nile from the Royal Ontario Museum occupied one room in this museum who's permanent collections are based on the pioneer experience but more importantly on the experience of the people of the first nations who occupied British Columbia before the coming of the pioneers.

Ancient Egyptian objects sadly rarely show up here on the west coast of Canada and it has been nearly four years since the Royal British Columbia Museum had its show Eternal Egypt from the British Museum. Though the objects displayed in the exhibit are much more humble objects than the masterpieces of the British Museum the objects still retain an aura of magnificence and perhaps even more so than the masterpieces they retain a sense of charm.

The collection displayed at the Surrey Museum consisted of material mostly from Pharaonic Egypt's Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom and Late periods including a copy of the cartonnage mummy envelope (ca. 950bc.) of the singer Djedmaatasankh. An ancient scribe wrote disrespectfully on her coffin that she was "the husband of bulls" indicating Djedmaatasankh may have been a bit of a bully.

A number of charming wooden models from the Middle Kingdom were present with a scribe being one of the exhibits stars though I know that the Royal Ontario Museum has such models from the tomb of the Pharaoh Mentuhotep II the information cards were too vague on their find spots.

Nearby stood a case containing pottery pots of elegant and sophisticated style with a wood headrest of standard tastes.

As I was towing along two eight-year-olds and a six-year-old I was happy with all the interactive qualities, the children had a number of fun games to play with including colouring pages of Egyptian tomb scenes which even the adults had to collect for themselves, always nice to get a free souvenir so that we all can remember the delightful day we spent at the Surrey Museum.

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