Year in Review: Thousands flocked to TMA Egypt exhibitWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Nearly 36,000 patrons have visited the Toledo Museum of Art’s special extended exhibit “The Egypt Experience: Secrets of the Tomb” during its run so far.
“[Visitors] really like the approach we’ve taken. There’s a true storytelling aspect to this exhibition,” said Teri Sharp, public relations manager at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA).
The exhibit, which opened Oct. 29, 2010, and will close Jan. 8, features 150 ancient objects on loan from the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Field Museum in Chicago. Objects from TMA’s permanent collection, including two mummies, are also on display. The objects cover 3,000 years of Egyptian culture.
The exhibit teaches patrons about the relationship between the living and the deceased in ancient Egyptian culture and also tells the stories of real-life Egyptians like Amunhotep, King Rameses II’s physician and scribe.
The space was specially constructed for the exhibit and designed to be tour-friendly, Sharp said. TMA also built tomb and chapel spaces to display artifacts and created an introductory film for the exhibit.
“It was somewhat experimental,” Sharp said of the exhibit. “We used storytelling and tried to humanize the exhibit.”
The museum also features several hands-on learning experiences in conjunction with the exhibit, she said. On Jan. 6 from 7-9 p.m. at the Libbey Court, guests will have the chance to create their own amulets, mini-mummies and write their names in hieroglyphics.
Several speakers and presenters also visited the museum as part of the exhibit. Sharp said one popular speaker was Bob Brier, aka “Mr. Mummy,” who presented May 13 at the Peristyle Theater. Brier, a renowned Egyptologist famous for mummifying a body using ancient Egyptian techniques, discussed mummification methods while his wife Pat Remler taught the crowd about religion’s role in mummification.
Part of the long-term exhibit’s success could be attributed to the world’s fascination with Egyptian culture, Sharp said.
“I think Toledoans love Egypt,” she said. “There is something about Egyptian culture that has fascinated people pretty much forever; it’s a great culture.”
Once the exhibit ends, the space will close so TMA can reinstall its Classic Court, which will feature antiquities, including items from “The Egypt Experience.” The space will reopen in spring.
The museum will use some of the more hands-on, visitor-friendly techniques that proved successful for “The Egypt Experience” in the Classic Court, Sharp said.
Those who haven’t yet made it to “The Egypt Experience” still have time.
“We would encourage everyone who hasn’t seen the exhibit to do so soon,” Sharp said.
The exhibit was sponsored by members of TMA, Taylor Cadillac, Ohio Arts Council and Buckeye Cable Systems. Visitors who want to take Egypt home can purchase “Egypt in Toledo: The Ancient Egyptian Collection at the Toledo Museum of Art,” by William H. Peck with Sandra E. Knudsen and Paula Reich for $24.95 at the museum store.
TMA members and children younger than 6 can attend “The Egypt Experience” for free. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students.
Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. The exhibit is located in the Lower Level Egyptian Gallery of the main museum. TMA is closed Mondays and New Year’s Day. Visit www.toledomuseum.org to learn more.