Journey through the grave reveals secrets of immortality in Ancient Egypt

December 17, 2008

Journey through the grave reveals secrets of immortality in Ancient Egypt

Gatineau, Quebec, December 18, 2008 — For the next eight months, Canadian Museum of Civilization visitors will be able to venture into the ancient Egyptian realm of the dead. A major new exhibition, Tombs of Eternity: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, offers a simulated journey through a 4,000-year-old burial tomb to reveal the secrets of life, death and religious belief in the ancient Nile Valley.

Tombs of Eternity is the closest many of us will come to entering an ancient Egyptian tomb,” says Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “This exhibition is an invitation to discover the Ancient Egyptian cult of the afterlife and personal immortality. Visitors will be inspired by the elaborate traditions of Ancient Egypt and reflect on their own beliefs on what may lie beyond.”

Preserved for millennia in the burial tombs of Egyptian nobles, most of the 200 rare and authentic artifacts in the exhibition were unearthed by archaeologists in the early twentieth century. Visitors will find the essentials to the Egyptian afterlife as they enter a recreated chapel and continue through a dim passage into the burial chamber, containing three human mummies. The Epilogue, a unique feature of Tombs of Eternity, invites visitors to recite an ancient prayer for the men and women whose tombs are showcased in the exhibition.

 “The artifacts in Tombs of Eternity span 3,000 years, beginning with the reign of the first pharaoh in 3150 BCE and ending with the Roman conquest in 31 BCE — a duration unequalled by any culture before or since,” says exhibition curator Dr. Matthew Betts. “Exploring Ancient Egypt and its timelessness forces us to confront our own mortality, our wish to be remembered, and our own connection to the hereafter,” he adds.

An IMAX® feature film, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs, is being shown by the Museum in parallel with the exhibition. The filmshows the mysterious world of the Pharaohs: their fascinating culture, religion, medicine, and daily life and demonstrates what scientists can learn from mummy DNA to help in developing medical treatments for modern diseases. Ancient wonders and historic intrigue come to life using dramatic re-enactments including the discovery of a cache of forty mummies, amongst them the legendary Ramses the Great and other Egyptian kings.

Tombs of Eternity: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt and the IMAX film Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs are presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from December 19, 2008 to August 16, 2009.The majority of artifacts come from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and include sarcophagi, jewellery, pottery, sculptures, furniture, amulets and colossal works of art. The Museum of Civilization created the Tombs of Eternity exhibition and added important artifacts from Canadian collections, including three human mummies, two superb wooden coffins, and a spectacular Roman Period mummy portrait.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine