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Sydney’s Australian Museum to host ‘blockbuster’ Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition

Sydney’s Australian Museum to host ‘blockbuster’ Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition
July 9, 2023

The Australian Museum, in cooperation with Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and World Heritage Exhibitions/Neon Global, has announced that it will host the Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition from November this year through to May 2024.

Exclusive to Sydney, Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs will be an interactive museum experience that features 181 artefacts and ornate golden treasures, including one-of-a-kind relics such as sarcophagi, animal mummies, magnificent jewellery, spectacular royal masks, exquisite amulets - many of which have never left Egypt before.

All of the objects in Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs have come from museums and historical sites in Egypt and are on loan to the exhibition from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW’s Blockbuster Fund, the anticipated ‘blockbuster’ exhibition is being promoted as “the largest cultural exhibition to visit Australia in over a decade”.

With the Australian Museum’s hosting of the Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition in 2021 having halted by the pandemic - and those items now in the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo - the Ramses exhibition will now fill its touring exhibitions halls from 18th November.

While the treasures of the boy king Tutankhamun are arguably the most famous of ancient Egypt, Ramses II, who ruled for over 60 years is regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom, which itself was the empire’s most powerful period.

Living to over 90 years of age, Ramses the Great (as he is generally known) came to epitomise the power and wealth of ancient Egypt led an extensive building campaign that included scores of gigantic monuments to himself, and is believed to have fathered over 100 children.

The Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and renowned archaeologist, Dr Mostafa Waziry, today launched the countdown to Ramses at the Australian Museum.

Noting that Egyptian antiquities and treasures have dazzled the world for centuries, Dr Waziry, visiting Sydney from Cairo, commented “mystery surrounds Egypt’s origins, religions and monumental architecture - many of which were built during the reign of Ramses II, 1279 to 1213 BC.

"This ability to transcend age and time has ensured the Egyptians have an eternal place in history, and I invite visitors to discover for themselves why Ramses II is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of all time.”

Australian Museum (AM) Director and Chief Executive, Kim McKay said the objects in Ramses and The Gold of the Pharaohs are drawn from Egypt’s finest museums and historical sites, and bring to life the fascinating, rich culture of ancient Egypt.

She explained “the AM is thrilled to present these exceedingly rare objects in an exhibition where visitors can appreciate their astonishing beauty and enduring history first-hand.

“Ancient Egypt holds intrigue and fascination for all age groups, and I know Ramses and The Gold of the Pharaohs in Sydney will introduce the mystery of the pharaohs to new generations of locals and visitors alike.”

Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs comes to Sydney after successful seasons in the USA cities of Houston, San Francisco and the French capital of Paris, where it is currently on show until September.

In addition to artefacts, it will also features a virtual reality experience that takes visitors on a tour of two of Ramses' most impressive monuments: the Tomb of Queen Nefertari, his favourite Royal Consort, and the temples of Abu Simbel.

Australia’s last major exhibition on ancient Egypt, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, smashed box office records for touring exhibitions when it was staged from April to December 2011.

During its 34 weeks of display it attracted a total attendance of 796,277.

Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs at the Australian Museum is presented in partnership with World Heritage Exhibitions, Neon and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, with the support of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

It is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW Blockbusters Funding initiative.

Click here for more information and to book tickets.

Images showing Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibits (from top): Granite bust of Merneptah (credit: World Heritage Exhibitions); Dr Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in Sydney today; gold bracelet of Sheshonq 11 with Wedjat Eye (credit: World Heritage Exhibitions); Dr Waziry pictured today with Australasian Leisure Management Editor Karen Sweaney and Publisher Nigel Benton; and a gold plated wooden mask from the coffin of Amenemope (credit: World Heritage Exhibitions).

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