Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Must be a roadtrip...

... if we have a picture of me in the rearview mirror. I was trying to capture a picture of the earrings I was wearing as they were apropos for the day's outing. Ever tried to take a picture yourself of jewelry you are wearing? It's difficult and leads to some of the most unflattering camera angles possible. But i finally managed this one: If you're saying to yourself, "Self, that looks like a golden sarcophagus," you are correct. I love these earrings that i bought at the National Gallery of Art when Colleen, Karen and I went there to see their traveling exhibit on Egypt. Why these earrings? Cause i was driving to Philly, baby, to see the exhibit Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. Did you know i love Egyptology? Did you know that i wanted to be an archaeologist when i was in the third grade? (or that i believe that people who confuse archeology and paleontology should have to suffer some terrible curse like boils and sores... oh, that makes me mad) There was a book in my elementary school library on the treasures of Tut that i checked out over and over and over again. Now i was going to see them for real! It was a lovely drive and i went the wrong way off of my exit so i got to see some of the better razor-wire lined neighborhoods that Philly had to offer. But when you are having an adventure in the middle of the week, such things don't matter. I eventually got to the Franklin Institute and only had to circle 3 times before i found the entrance to the parking garage. I was a little ahead of schedule, so i went to the planetarium show The Stars of the Pharaohs, which i highly recommend. (warning: geek speak) The Fels has a digital star system (i think Digistar, but i can't remember) which often renders slightly fuzzy (or at least less crisp) stars than optical projectors; however it allows for full surround video. There are advocates for both types of systems. This 2003 production, narrated by John Rhys-Davies capitalized on the strengths of the digital system and is incredible. Egyptian mythology mixes with astronomy and history in a 35 minute show that was educational and interesting. Even with the comfy chairs i didn't nod off! Onto the exhibit. Obviously, photography wasn't allowed so you are just going to have to believe me when i say, WOW! The exhibit design was great and the artifacts were breathtaking. At $27.50 this is the most i have ever paid for an exhibition (especially since i normally don't have to pay at all) and my expectations were high. It had galleries tracing Tut's heritage from his great-grandparents down. The last 5 galleries were objects found in his tomb and a size replica of all of the massive nested coffins. My only disappointment was that i REALLY wanted to see the famous funeral mask. I knew there was little chance that such a priceless artifact would travel, but i had a little hope. Alas, no mask, but there was the equally famous "boy king" carving and one of the coffinettes that had held his embalmed viscera. Plus all kind of artifacts showcasing Tut's life (and death) as pharaoh, Commander in Chief, religious leader and man. They even had the crown from the mummy's head. Awesome. Of course, the exhibit dumped you into the gift shop. I like museum gift shops. I like that proceeds from this one were going to be given the children's museum in Cairo. I like buying and sending postcards from my travels. Having said that, this gift shop was beyond belief - and i don't mean in a necessarily good way. Anything you can imagine and some that you never, ever, ever thought you'd see were there. Books, media, jewelry, umbrellas, toys, clothes, souvenirs and all the normal stuff were side-by-side with Tut Bobbleheads, Golden Crown Headbands, Crazy Character Pens and Tissue Box Covers. Yes, i just said that. One of the greatest cultures of antiquity reduced to us yanking tissues out of the Pharaoh's nose. Tut would be spinning in his grave - that is, if he was still in it to begin with! Regardless, it was a nice experience and a great trip (though at only 250 miles it hardly qualifies as a roadtrip). The only thing missing was Mel and Mike - Philly isn't the same without you!

1 comment:

srapalmateer said...

I've seen those tissue holders before in a catalog! There's even ones where you can pull the tissue out of a moai's nose! (Those lovely Easter Island statues) I hate to admit this, but I actually thought about getting one of those for my classroom. What better way to talk about the moai than to use a tissue box!