Friday, October 24, 2008

Agatha Christie's Egypt: Life on the Nile in the 1930s

San Francisco State University's Museum Studies Program announces a new exhibition "Agatha Christie's Egypt: Life on the Nile in the 1930s." Egypt held a special meaning for the career of the Agatha Christie: After traveling there and taking the trip up the Nile on a tourist steamer, she wrote one of her most successful books, Death on the Nile, which features the one and only Hercule Poirot solving the mystery murder in a group of British and American travelers.

The exhibition shows Egypt the way it would have looked to the eyes of Agatha Christie and other Western tourists of 1930s. Magnificent black and white photographs show archaeological excavations and the great Egyptian monuments - Sphinx of Giza and the temples of Karnak and Luxor. The photographers of the 1930s caught the last view of the island of Philae, which went under water after the Aswan Dam was opened. Next to these iconic images are pictures of the daily life of Egyptians: people making mats, molding bricks, and discussing everyday affairs.

The magazines and newspapers of 1930s provide an authentic atmosphere for the "period room," modeled after a luxury hotel lobby. Here, visitors get a chance to relax, leave their names in a guest book and try out the stereoscope and stereographs of Egypt. Those three-dimensional images were the first 'high definition' photographs, popular in 1930s.

A visit to Egypt could not be complete without going to the museum of antiquities to see mummies, statues of gods, and contents of tombs. The core of this part of the exhibition consists of the objects from the famous Sutro Egyptian Collection, purchased by former San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro in 1884. The treasures of the collection on display include the 3000-year-old mummy called Nes-Per-N-Nub with a rare triple-nesting sarcophagus set (one of the only 3 triple-nesting sarcophagi in the US!); other mummified remains; the stunning Amarna princess limestone statuette; jewelry and amulets that accompanied Egyptians to the afterlife.

For visitors of all ages, the exhibition provides a unique hands-on INTERACTIVE MUMMY. If you always wanted to learn more about the art of mummification, you can practice with our custom-made interactive mummy, which is equipped with lungs, liver, kidneys, and brains to be removed. Wrapping the mummy is the final stage of this adventure!

The exhibition is located at San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132-4030, in Humanities Building, 5th Floor, Room 510. It would be open to the public 11:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday, November 3rd - December 12th, with a hiatus for the week of Thanksgiving. Admission is free.

"There are very wonderful things to be seen in Egypt, are there not?" - Hercule Poirot

1 comment:

vallerose said...

This sounds like a wonderful exhibit and not to be missed. It's too bad it's not on longer. There are a few times when I wish I could time travel and going back to the thirties and taking a boat on the Nile is something I dream about.