Take a virtual walk into an ancient Egyptian coffin in this exhibition from the British Museum.
One of the few ancient cultures that continue to fascinate people is that of the Egyptians. Recognising this interest, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai, has partnered with the British Museum to showcase a rare exhibition “Mummy: The Inside Story”. It is the first time that this travelling exhibition has come to India, for which Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS, thanks the British Museum, British Petroleum (BP) and Reliance Foundation for their support. “During my visit to the British Museum in 2003, I ended up spending maximum time in the Egyptian section. The artefacts and mummies displayed there intrigued me due to their similarities with the Harappan culture. Thus when we got the opportunity to showcase the wonders of Egyptian civilisation at the CSMVS, it was a delight beyond description,” says Mukherjee.
The exhibition throws up rare surprises given the multitude of artefacts displayed. The most interesting of all is the 3-D immersive experience in the coffin of Nesperennub, a priest who died in Egypt 3,000 years ago. This centres on Nesperennub’s mummy, its case and an array of funerary objects and figurines. With non-invasive techniques of X-rays, CT-scans and advanced computer technology, it takes viewers through a “virtual unwrap” combined with dramatic reconstructions of the priest’s life and mummification in ancient Egypt.
“A whole array of instruments, equipments and special effects has gone into this unique experience. I’m proud to say that CSMVS has been able to equip itself with a climate-control environment to sustain the exhibits. We are keen that the maximum number of people — especially students — savour this experience,” says Mukherjee who reveals that, to achieve this aim, the museum is rolling out an extensive programme reaching out to more than 300 schools and colleges in and around Mumbai. Many of these enrichment workshops, demonstrations and activities are free for school children. “An introductory workshop about the importance of hieroglyphs; demonstrations to explain ancient Egyptian medical practices and modern techniques of preservation; storytelling sessions on myths and legends from ancient Egypt; activity funfairs with different activities such as a photography corner, Wheel of the Gods, and Bookmark counter form a part of this unique endeavour . There also are tactile tours for the visually impaired to give them a multi-sensory experience of the exhibition and special activity-based visits for underprivileged children and differently-abled visitors.”
RESHMA S KULKARNI
The most interesting of all is the 3-D immersive experience in the coffin of Nesperennub, a priest who died in Egypt 3,000 years ago.