Joslyn brings a taste of Ancient Egypt to Omaha

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By April Wilson, Senior Staff Writer

The romance and intrigue often associated with Ancient Egypt has come to Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum.

“To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum” opened Feb. 11 with a free public lecture by Dr. Edward Bleiberg, curator of Egyptian, classical and ancient Near Eastern art at the Brooklyn Museum.

The lecture, titled “Living Forever in Ancient Egypt,” was an informative overview, by Bleiberg, of several of the most interesting objects in the collection that focused specifically on how these objects were used, especially by the average person in Ancient Egypt.

Bleiberg spoke about the three necessary objects required to achieve immortality in Ancient Egypt and outlined the creative ways in which the middle and lower classes reused materials to suit their purposes.

“[The average Egyptian] made choices and used their creativity to obtain some things they needed for bargain prices,” Bleiberg said.

The exhibit “examines the process of mummification, funeral processions and rituals, contents of the tomb, final judgment of the deceased and the idealized afterlife,” according to publicity materials. However, what makes this display unique is that instead of focusing on Egyptian royalty and nobility, as most displays of Egyptian art do, it focuses specifically on the non-royal citizens of the great civilization, specifically the rich, middle class and common citizens.

Bleiberg said the exhibit has been on tour since 2008 and Omaha is the tenth and final stop for the 122-item display. The display itself features two large sarcophagi, an actual mummy from the time when Rome ruled Egypt and various small artifacts, including canopic jars, used to store organs, jewelry, daggers and other interesting smaller pieces, as well as a few larger statuaries.

The exhibit will remain at the Joslyn until June 3. The museum has many activities planned for both adults and families alike. They include Saturday activities for families, a family night called “Ra Sleeps” on March 2, storytelling times that are partnered with the Omaha Public Library and a Mother’s Day breakfast, in addition to the presentation of “Cleopatra” by Ballet Nebraska at the end of March. More information can be found at www.joslyn.org

The exhibit is open during normal museum hours which are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and college students with ID, $5 for those ages 5 to 17 years and free for those under 4. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., admission is free.

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