Making sure that the public will get the most out of the Ramses exhibition, the Australian Museum has partnered with Macquarie University to present a staggering array of Gateway to Egypt: public programs covering almost every topic possible to embellish the blockbuster show.
Three series of Saturday lectures, Exploring Ancient Egypt, taking participants deep into all things ancient and Egyptian, will run until the end of January.
Another series, Egypt in Conversation, comprised of talks hosted by journalists, is running every second Wednesday of the month until mid-February, while Tomb Talks will include canapes, drinks and a Q&A with an Egypt expert to be held every second Tuesday of the month.
For those wanting to start the day with breakfast, a behind the scenes talk and a VIP tour, they can book for the third Wednesday of the month until 20th March 2024.
Dr Melanie Pitkin, senior curator of the Nicholson Collection, Chak Chau Wing Museum is one of the many experts enlisted to guide events and at 12pm on Wednesday 13th December she will be hosting journalist and broadcaster Caroline Baum as they take us through an Introduction to Egypt conversation.
“I have been asked by the Australian Museum to give a general introduction to Egyptian history and Caroline Baum is going to throw a whole lot of questions at me, spanning everything from blockbuster exhibitions on Egypt to the public knowledge and perceptions around Ancient Egypt,” Dr Pitkin said.
The conversation with Caroline Baum will also cover collecting practices and how museums acquire Egyptian antiquities, mummification and the ethics of working with human remains.
“She (Baum) is very much interested in how and what their burials were about and how the majority of the population is not represented in what we see at the Ramses exhibition,” Pitkin said.
“I am going to give an overview of how the chronology has come about, and how the Egyptians didn’t know that they were living in the 19th Dynasty (as) that was imposed later by modern Egyptologists, and how this has impacted our understanding of the framework around ancient Egypt.”
Other programs announced will include ABC broadcaster Simon Marnie talking with Egyptologist Professor Martin Bommas about what it really takes to be an Indiana Jones and to discover, excavate and restore a tomb.
Archeologist Dr Craig Barker will take us on a journey to ancient Egypt via Hollywood and look at how it has been represented and just how much of it is real?
For those interested in the more colourful and often terrifying aspects of ancient Egyptian religious practices, Dr Anna Latifa Mourad-Cizek will explore the spells and beliefs of the people as they prepared for death and rebirth in the afterlife.
In his long lifetime Ramses fought many battles, including defeating the Nubians to the south, which paved the way for eventual unification of Egypt.
Dr Aaron de Souza will explore this complex relationship and how led it to an eventual period of cooperation and co-existence.
Of particular interest to many will be the Nile High Club: Drinking, Drugs and the Divine explained by Mary Hartley as she takes us, with drink in hand, to the gateway of the divine, accompanied by a VIP tour.
“We are drawing on experts, and everyone has put forward topics that they are passionate about and have expertise in,” Pitkin said.
The Australian Museum came back with a really interesting way of presenting the information rather than a standard form of lecture.
It is much more engaging and accessible.”
All lectures are recommended for those over 16 years of age and require a booking, with concessions available to Australian Museum members.