“How doth the little crocodile/Improve his shining tail/And pour the waters of the Nile/On every shining scale!”
How doth he indeed, mused Alice soon after she ran after the rabbit. Lately I’ve been spending my time thinking about the Nile and Egypt in general, and in ancient terms specifically. Nothing too taxing, mind you. Starting with the wonderfully wonderful Mummy films starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss and more recently by tracking down Horrible Histories and learning the Awesome Egyptians by heart, I have tried to glean a working knowledge of a time that was ancient since before Rome started eyeing up neighbouring territories.
My reasons for this have been primarily work ones. Everyone seems to be OBSESSED with dead people wrapped in linen. I mean literally EVERY family I’ve helped recently.
“We’d like to see the mummies,” the boldest in the group would say, “Do you have an activity for us?”
It is safe to say that yes, the British Museum has a great trail and a really fun backpack for you to do.
But what do other museums have?
I took a trip, with Will enthusiastically fulfilling the role of glamorous assistant, to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, just across from the famous Pavilion, to investigate.
Time for a little background: Brighton was home to a famous Egyptologist, Francis Llewellyn Griffith (1862-1934) who worked in Egypt around 1885. So, his findings came to call this museum home. I like how most museums seem to have a patron saint of some kind; the Ashmolean has Arthur Evans, the BM (kind of) has Elgin… but that’s another blog.
The Egypt galleries – for there is more than one – are small but beautifully formed. The first one appears after you’ve worked your way through some (admittedly rather cool) furniture, greeting you with two sarcophagi. Following it around, you cover all of the major bits of Egypt, with an emphasis on the bit we’re all interested in: the Mummies.
There is an impressive interactive screen taking the visitor through the whole process. Here is Will having fun pushing the buttons:
They have the Dog God Anubis acting as a guide and gave the usually featureless corpse a name and a background story, which was a nice touch. All in all, a pleasant museum learning experience.