Press Centre

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Valley of the Kings: Interactive Exhibition by Sharjah Museums Authority

Sharjah – November 10, 2021

A Sharjah interactive exhibition is employing audio, visual and action-based activities to focus attention on a major archaeological discovery near Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Organized by Sharjah Museums Authority in partnership with the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, the event brings to life the history of Deir El-Medina, an ancient Egyptian workmen’s village that was once home to 800 builders, artists, and painters who worked on Egypt’s pharaohs tombs in Valley of The Kings in 1500 BC.

The opening of “Deir El-Medina, Pharaohs Artists Village” exhibition was attended by Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA, and Dr Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-Sharjah.

Developed by, and held at Sharjah Archaeology Museum from November 10 to August 31,2022, the event is geared toward children aged four years and up, and their families.

While most objects uncovered in the village are displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, SMA’s artefact-free exhibition will transport UAE’s young people back in time in an environment of interaction that tell the story of Deir El-Medina, ancient Egyptians’ life, costumes and language.

It comprises a lineup of hands-on and knowledge-production activities including restoring replicas of artefacts, becoming archaeologists in a small-scale excavation replica site, and using touch-screens to write in hieroglyphs and transform into pharaohs.

Children will also learn about archaeology and excavation expeditions that led to the discovery of the 3,400-year-old village, including that by Italian Ernesto Schiaparelli during the early 20th century.

“We are proud to organise this first-of-its-kind children exhibition, to allow our young audience to explore the rich ancient Egyptian history and learn about archaeology,” said Manal Ataya, Director General of SMA.

“We realise archeology is not a topic that is easily accessible to young people therefore, by rethinking how to engage children, we created this immersive interactive environment to help them appreciate the experience and understand it better.”

Aspects of the exhibition, which is the first event and exhibition organized after an MOU was signed between SMA and the Egyptian Museum in Turin (Fondazione Museo delle Antichita) in 2019, to collaborate in areas of research, education and programs, will also be available virtually following its opening.

“We are very proud to collaborate with the Sharjah Archeology Museum. The exhibition ‘Deir El-Medina, Pharaohs Artists Village” allows children and their families to remotely visit one of the most iconic sections of the Egyptian Museum’s collection. Thanks to videos and interactive activities students can learn in an innovative way about the ancient Egyptian costumes and about archaeologists’ tools,” said Christian Greco, director of the Egyptian Museum.  

He added: “Today we find ourselves immersed in what is called the digital revolution, which has already profoundly transformed our cognitive approach and working methods. In archaeology, photogrammetry and 3D modelling enable archaeologists to document the whole excavation process and reconstruct contexts even after they have been removed. We can reproduce a coffin with sub-millimetric accuracy by recording all its phases of production and reuse. Then digital communication enables us to create virtual working environments in which scholars from all over the world can compare their data.”

In parallel to the exhibition, a virtual seminar hosting experts from UAE, Egypt and Italy, from 11am to 2pm on December 13, will discuss the archaeology experience in Deir El-Medina, the importance of protecting cultural heritage, and the role of Egyptology in museums and education.

Speakers include Dr Cedric Gobeil and Alessia Fassone, Curators from the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Dr Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-Sharjah, Dr Ikram Ghabriel, Institute of Archaeology, and Dr. Mansour Boraik, Principle Archaeology Specialist, Architectural Heritage and Antiquities, Dubai Municipality.

Interested individuals can register for the session at https://bit.ly/3ELn6SS.

A dedicated website is also available to offer information about the event and accompanying activities.

This launch is part of a series of year-round events and activities specifically designed to cater to the needs of children, that are regularly organised by SMA to better connect youngsters to museums and promote learning and exploration.

For more information, please visit www.SharjahMuseums.ae.

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