The secrets of ancient Egypt unravelled in Shrewsbury
If you have ever wondered why the ancient Egyptians insisted on wrapping their dead in bandages, filling tombs with ornate trinkets, or how they constructed the pyramids, then a new exhibition in Shrewsbury has the answer.
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is hosting the "Secret Egypt - Unravelling Truth from Myth" exhibition until April 26.
Packed with historical artefacts, the exhibition seeks to debunk some of the myths surrounding Egypt, using genuine items from ancient history and a series of interactive games for children - including a chance to dress up as an Egyptian.
Items vary from the truly stunning to the outright gruesome, with an authentic Egyptian mummy, dating from 600BC, forming the centrepiece of the exhibition.
Named Namen Khetamun the man would have been about 40 years old when he died and was placed in the ornate sarcophagus in which his body still lays, preserved to this day.
Tim King, a tourism officer with Shrewsbury Museum, said staff were thrilled to be hosting such a prestigious collection.
He said: "It is fantastic, we really are delighted. It is a great accolade for Shrewsbury to have it here. It is a real family exhibition. We have tried to strike a balance in what appeals to adults and to children while trying to explain more about the culture and realities of ancient Egypt.
"We have a great mix of interactive learning and real treasures in what is a wonderful exhibition."
Some of the interactive items include a "real or fake" game with a series of supposedly ancient objects, a chance to dress up as an ancient Egyptian and view yourself in a traditional copper mirror, build your own pyramid, and a game of "Battle of the Pharaohs".
Mr King explained that this is not the first occasion Shrewsbury has hosted a mummy although this time the reception is very different.
He said: "In 1842 Shrewsbury had its first mummy brought back from Egypt and it was unwrapped in the square in front of the hall and they gave bits of it away to the people watching. It is a very different approach now!"
Despite not being able to take your own mummified Egyptian home, visitors to the exhibition will be able to see some incredible objects including a 3,500 year old death mask, jewellery, carvings, and "Shabtis" - model carvings which were sealed in tombs with the mummies as part of Egyptian burial beliefs.
The aim of the exhibition is to throw a light on why the Egyptians chose to mummify their dead - including a small bird which also features as part of the display - and a host of other aspects of their culture.
As a result the exhibition has been broken up into six sections, each revealing the truth behind a different aspect of Egyptian life, including one titled "Did aliens build the pyramids".
Mr King said: "We want to change the perceptions of Egypt that people have from television and films. We pick up a lot of myth through fiction and we think we understand it but this exhibition is trying to put across a more informative approach."
The exhibition is open from 10am to 4.30pm every day of the week - apart from Mondays, until February 16.
From February 16 the exhibition will be open from 10am to 4.30am every day of the week until April 26.
Entry costs £4 for adults, £3.50 for senior citizens, £2 for children between five and 17, and free for children from nought to four.
Schools can also arrange educational trips by contacting Fay Bailey on 01743 258885.
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