Thursday, 8 December 2011

Trip to Ashmolean's new Egyptian Gallery

I must have been mad -- taking six children to Oxford's Ashmolean museum to look at their new Egyptian gallery.

Even madder to meet up with a friend who brought along four boys.

Two adults with ten children was ... just about do-able.

Oxford's Ashmolean Museum
est. 1683
(the current building is from 1845)

The Ashmolean likes to provide little worksheet "trails" to its young visitors, and while it's true that the children love to do them (and get rewarded with certificates afterwards for completing them), the practical side of rounding up ten children who want to dash through an exhibition just to tick boxes isn't, it would seem, completely thought out.

Ten items were identified and "collected" on their sheets, but did they read any captions?  Did they know what they were?  Like heck!

The shrine of King Taharqa --
 the only free-standing pharaonic structure in Britain
Anyway, my friend and I did our best to take them all through a second time and point out cool things -- like cartouches and the free-standing, stone pharaonic shrine of King Taharqa and real, live canopic jars like those they had fashioned out of spice jars and clay a few weeks ago at our history co-op.  I did enjoy hearing the children shout, "Hey, look, it's Duamutef."

Phoenix was fascinated by a series of glass plates, each with part of a drawing that, together, made up the CT image of a child's mummy believed to have been from 100 AD. We all wonder, however, that the radiologists hypothesized that the child had died of pneumonia when his lungs would have been removed (and put in the Hapi canopic jar).
The Ashmolean Mummy Boy 3
by Angela Palmer
Ink Drawing on 111 sheets of Mirogard Glass

Our final attempt to get extra mileage out of the trip was looking around some of the Grecian items, since we're turning our attention to Ancient Greece in the new year.  Instead, they discovered the room with pre-historic British artefacts and an interactive bow and arrow where you try to shoot some plastic cut-out stags.

Later, when I was cuddling Busy Timmy in bed and asking him what was the best part of the museum trip today, he said, "The revolving door where you go in."


  1. You were brave-reminds me of taking six children to the British Museum. Some museums are so much more do-able than others. The main problem with the Science Museum is getting them out at the end.

  2. Hi, I'm Kim, homeschooling mum to 4 boys. Hopped onto your blog from another....just to say the revolving door thing made my husband and I laugh out loud. Absolutely brilliant! I'll be reading a little more of your blog when I get some spare minutes. Nice to 'meet' you !


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