Ancient Egypt

.. ancient Egyptians, there were no plaques having as extensive information as in the pyramid. Of the few plaques that were in the daily life exhibit, they consisted of only the name of the object and the date that it was presumed to come from. Information maybe have been extracted from the five feet tall walls that were scattered through out the small exhibit: one of such walls shows a cartoon like scene of a man kneeling and holding up a cup. In front of him was a man holding a pitcher filled with some liquid. In between the men was a little description of the scene that said something to the extent of: ‘the man kneeling is at a bar and has been drinking.

He is drunk and is thirsty for more! The bartender is going to pour him another drink.’ The purpose of this exhibit in the daily life exhibit seems fairly trivial and is not portrayed in the serious and informative manner as exhibits are portrayed in the pyramid. There are no plaques giving any further information such as the kinds of drinks served, the way a typical bar may have looked, or even the utensils used to serve the alcohol (i.e.: what the pitcher may have looked like), perhaps. Therefore, although the museum attempts to give the visitors an overview of ancient Egyptian culture, it gives numerous detailed descriptions of the procedures, significance, and roles that the artifacts in the pyramids played in ancient Egyptian life, yet gives very little or no information as to the daily life of the ancient Egyptian. The historical plaques in the pyramid are far more extensive than the few historical plaques in the daily life of an ancient Egyptian exhibit. This lack of sufficient information in the daily life exhibit further fosters a bias towards the importance of the ancient Egyptian techniques for preparing themselves for the afterlife, rather than giving the visitor a balanced view of Egyptian culture. Another aspect of the exhibit that gives the false impression of an Egyptian culture that is infatuated with death is the atmosphere of each exhibit.

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In the pyramid, the artifacts and exhibit are displayed in an orderly, informative manner. There is information about each artifact, and the majority of the artifacts are enclosed in cases so that they are not destroyed. The mummies are enclosed in a special airtight chamber that ensures the preservation of the body and it’s wrapping. Artifacts found inside the tombs are displayed behind the glass cases to ensure that they are not broken. The pyramid has a grave and mysterious atmosphere; this mysterious atmosphere instigates curiosity. The artifacts are similar to a Pandora’s box that as visitors, we would like to open and find out what’s inside.

The jars filled with organs are sealed; the plaques describe its contents, but it is natural to be curious to want see the actual contents. The tombs are comparable to Russian dolls which have many different layers within it; as soon as one doll is opened, there is another doll in side of that, and so on. There are many layers to the tomb, like the doll: the initial stone covering, the wooden casing, the wrapped mummy, and finally the body of the dead person. Some tombs have been dissected and taken apart, while others remain as is, in their wooden cases. This also evokes a sense of curiosity for the visitor.

Along with the mysterious aspect which visitors fall prey to, there is also a lot of historical information provided with the after life exhibit. The historical plaques add to the more informative atmosphere of this exhibit, while the daily life exhibit lacks the educational and informative nature of the after life exhibit. The daily life exhibit consists of cartoon scenarios and”fun” activities, rather than the artifacts and information of the afterlife exhibit. As mentioned before, the scene with the bartender and the drunk Egyptian man gives very little information about the Egyptian culture: they knew about the effects of alcohol, and bars may have been an established part of their culture. The exhibit that allowed visitors to envision themselves as an Egyptian does not give any further insight to the Egyptian culture other than what the Egyptians may have typically looked like; rather, the exhibit is placed there for entertainment than information. In contrast to the pyramid exhibit, the daily life of an ancient Egyptian was more well lit (since it was separate from the pyramid), and gave the impression of being less mysterious and therefore less intriguing.

The pyramid exhibit was more informative and stimulated more curiosity than the daily life exhibit, which seemed to be placed as an exhibit primarily for entertainment than an actual informative exhibit. The exhibits in the daily life exhibit were more tangible than the ones in the pyramid. This lended the exhibit to be less mysterious and evoked little curiosity – thereby being less captivating than its enigmatic counterpart. Therefore, the atmosphere of the pyramid and the daily life exhibit created an impression of the preparation of the after life as being the primal function of the Ancient Egyptians. The light, less informative, and”fun” atmosphere of the daily life exhibit does not give a sound background of the entire Egyptian culture; instead, it allows the visitor to focus on the more informative aspect of the entire exhibit, and they walk away with understanding that the Ancient Egyptians spent the majority of their life preparing themselves for death and the after life. In its attempt to inform the public of ancient Egyptian culture, the Field Museum fails to paint a complete and informative picture.

The Field Museum concentrates heavily on Ancient Egyptian methods and purposes of the preparation of the body for the afterlife, yet does not give much information on the daily life of the Egyptian. The Museum does this through their specific location of the after life and daily life exhibits, the historical plaques (or lack there of), and the strikingly different atmospheres of the two exhibits. This gives a false impression to uninformed; these visitors are not informed of the complete culture of the Egyptian. Thus, the Field Museum preserves a good sense of the preparation and preservation of the afterlife aspect of Ancient Egypt while lacking in having a such a thorough exhibit for the daily life of the Ancient Egyptians.