Friday, 16 August 2013

Visitor Review of Echoes of Egypt at the Yale Peabody Museum

Image via Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History


Here is the first of what I hope will be a regular feature, where a Collecting Egypt follower reviews a museum or exhibition.

Today we look at the Echoes of Egypt exhibition at Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.


Review


    "Echoes of Egypt; Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs" opened at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT on April 13, 2013 and will run through Jan. 4, 2014. This exhibition looks at Egyptianizing influences on "modern" culture, including architecture, decoration, and thought. The best place to start the experience is at the website of the exhibition http://echoesofegypt.peabody.yale.edu/. I highly recommend you look through this before you go to see the exhibition itself as it explains a lot more than do the rather small and briefly informative exhibition labels. The design of the exhibition itself is well thought out, with the visitor entering through a mock up of the pylon gateway to 
the New Haven City Burial Ground (Grove Street Cemetery). 
     

Objects in cases line each wall, as well as stand in the middle of the space. Drawing from their own collections as well as the collections of other institutions and private parties, Echoes of Egypt is an interesting collection of rarities and curiosities which show how Ancient Egypt inspired and influenced artistic design, esthetics, thoughts on medicine and ethnology, writing, and decorative arts.
     

While most of the exhibition contains genuine artifacts, the experience is marred by a life-sized diorama purporting to be George Gliddon unwrapping a mummy. The scene is not at all accurate, although it does include a real mummy from the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport--the mummy formerly known as "Mr." Pa Ib, but now known to be an unnamed female who had been placed in his coffin. The juxtaposition of this "diorama" was a very jarring amateurish note in what otherwise is a fascinating exhibition.
   

While low light levels were maintained to preserve the artifacts, it made for a sometimes difficult time to move about the exhibition area. Sensors in front of many of the cases briefly raised the light levels in that immediate area to allow objects to be seen more clearly.
   

The exhibition itself was small, and I am not sure worth the $12.00 admission price if one were hoping to see lots of objects from Ancient Egypt! There is a catalogue available, but much more information can be obtained from the articles on the website. It's a nice souvenir, though.

Katzengesicht
Aug. 12, 2013

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