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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Morning with the Mummies #LifeWithTheJoneses

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Ancient Egypt. 

I could tell you the mummification process off by heart. 
I could list name after name of pharaohs. 
I watched every documentary I could get my hands on. 
And I even volunteered at the library at lunch time because I knew it was the only way I could convince the librarian to let me borrow the non fiction books that were reserved for the older kids.

So, naturally, when I heard that The Powerhouse Museum had a new Mummy exhibition, I needed to go.  Especially as it meant we could also tick one of the M dates off our Alphabet Dating Book

So let me share our Saturday adventure with you! >> 

Jesse Outside the Powerhouse Museum

On Saturday morning, Jesse and I hopped on a train (actually, we kind of ran a little because I underestimated how much longer it takes to get to the train station when walking with Jesse) and got off at Central Station to walk to the museum. 

Jesse didn't trust my sense of direction and decided to follow Google Maps instead so our walk to the museum took 20 minutes instead of 5 - but hey! We got there eventually. 

Old Steam Train inside the Powerhouse Museum, MAAS Sydney

We got there just after the museum opened which was the perfect time as there were only a few people in the line. We bought our tickets (which were $27 each - including general museum entry - children's tickets are $16) and headed straight for the exhibition before it got too crowded.

The exhibition, Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives starts with a short video before you head straight inside. They only let 6 or so people in at a time to stagger the crowds - but the video only lasts for a few minutes so I imagine it would get quite crowded inside in the middle of the day.

Nesta Wedjat - Egyptian Mummies Exploring Ancient Lives Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney Review

The first thing you see when you enter the exhibition is the mummy of Nestawedjat, also known as "The Lady of the House". A married woman from Thebes, this Mummy is thought to be around 2,700 years old. 

Let that sink in a little there. 

In front of you is a 2,700 year old woman - and there on the screen, you see the CT scan images of that exact mummy - revealing layer by layer what lies within. 

Inside the layers of linen cloth was Nestawedjat, perfectly embalmed... to the point where, through the CT scans, they could work out that she suffered from spinal lesions, was between 35-49 years old and was around 153 cm tall. 

Nestawedjat - Egyptian Mummies Exploring Ancient Lives Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney Review

She was clearly a wealthy woman as she had not one, not two, but three coffins - each intricately and carefully created to ensure her safe passage to the afterlife. 

Even the inside of her coffin was decorated with prayers and images of gods to protect her. 

These were the canopic jars which would have contained embalmed organs and even they were engraved with prayers and spells for the deceased's journey to the afterlife. 

I always thought that they had to embalm the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines - but quite a few of the mummies on display had perfectly embalmed organs STILL INSIDE them. The CT scans showed perfectly healthy, intact livers and different organs that were still there, 2,700+ years later. Mind blown. 

Tayesmutengebtiu -  Egyptian Mummies Exploring Ancient Lives Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney Review

Each of the mummies were completely different - and each of the CT scans revealed something different. This was the coffin of Tayesmutengebtiu (also known as Tamut, The Lady of the House (that just means she was married) and The Chantress of Amun). 

Even older than the last Mummy at around 2,900 years old, Tamut's CT scans revealed she suffered from atherosclerosis (aterial plaque - likely causing high blood pressure). 

This coffin was more like papier mache in the way that it was made - rather than individual coffins. The mummy would have been wrapped and then covered with linen, plaster and glue to create the "cartonnage" case which was then painted. 

Her organs were all removed from her body and some of those were then wrapped with wax figures and placed back inside her body before she was wrapped. The wax figures represented the sons of deities which would protect her internal organs and body in the aterlife. 

Egyptian Mummies Exploring Ancient Lives Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney Review

Side note: I'm totally writing this thinking "Kristy, you're boring everyone to tears here with your word vomit" - but you may be a fellow history nerd like me and loving this so I'll keep writing it for you.. and return to normal programming next Wednesday with something random 😜

Egyptian Mummies Exploring Ancient Lives Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney Review

We spent an hour or so reading and learning and looking in awe and I totally satisfied my history geek self - and then decided if I'm ever in need of a backup career, I'm going to go and be an archaeologist or a investigative CT scan operator (I made that job title up, by the way... I don't know if that's actually a thing but it should be). 

3D Printed Sculpture at the MAAS Powerhouse Museum Sydney

We then headed off to look at the other exhibits.

3D Printed Sculpture at the MAAS Powerhouse Museum Sydney 3D Printed Mannequin at the MAAS Powerhouse Museum Sydney

Whilst I decided on a new career path, Jesse decided what to spend our money on. One exhibition, Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, was filled with 3D printed works which cemented Jesse's "need" for a 3D printer. 

They had 3D printed hearts and internal organs which surgeons use to learn about different surgical procedures etc - and he tried to use that to tell me that we had to have one because, yaknow, 3D printers save lives.

Jesse wins Husband of the Year

But it's okay, he redeemed himself by carrying my way too heavy handbag that was filled with both his and my stuff. 


Gaming Exhibition at MAAS Powerhouse Museum Sydney

He was rewarded, though - because we then found our way to this gaming exhibition where you could stand in front of the screen and become a virtual character and then Jesse created his own band with a different game - only to have the music time out jusssssssssssst as he decided he was a musical genius.

See, friends. Even technology will humble you 😝

Paddy's Markets Sydney

After after walking through all of the museum and clocking up 15,000 odd steps, we headed over to Paddy's Markets to have a quick walk through before heading back to the train station to go home. 

And just like that, we ticked another item off our Alphabet Dating Book list! 

But tell me, what were you "into" as a kid? 
Polly Pockets? Gardening? Sports? Science? Cooking? 
I was into Egypt - but I also loved playing with Bratz Dolls, dancing and singing, baking and cooking and anything Disney.

And was this post totally boring for you? Or do you want to see more of what we get up to on the weekends?
I promise our weekends are not always so educational, haha.


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