Exploring the Land of Pharaohs0
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Ever since I was a child in elementary school, I have been fascinated with movies about Egypt. It probably started when my father and I would watch the old black & white horror film The Mummy, starring English actor Boris Karloff. It seemed so mystical the idea of a body that was preserved by being wrapped in gauzy bandages, then coming alive and walking the Earth again. Years later, I enjoyed school trips to the city’s museums and then later as an adult visiting any museum with Egyptian items. For those readers that are also intrigued with ancient Egyptian culture, there is a month long recognition being held in April at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a celebration of one of their most popular exhibits, The Temple of Dendur.
Back in April 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded the museum the temple that the U.S. was given by the Egyptian government. This fabulous gift—the Temple of Dendur—was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15BC, during the reign of Augustus Caesar. The Temple, made of Aeolian sandstone, is installed in the Sackler Wing and is one of the iconic and most beloved works at the museum. To walk through this 2,000-year-old structure is truly a once in a lifetime experience, if you feel you will never walk on Egyptian soil in your lifetime. In celebration of the anniversary, the temple has been cleaned from roof to floor, freshening up the appearance of the red-brown Nubian sandstone. During April, the museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award with organized events, informational displays, presentations, light displays, sketching courses and children’s programs. The website has new informational panels detailing the temple’s ancient history and political and religious significance, visits of 19th-century explorers and tourists, and the rescue of the temple during the 1960–1980 UNESCO Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. During the month of April, the original award letter, a memo announcing the temple’s arrival in New York, and a photograph showing crates with temple blocks being unloaded from the freighter Concordia Star will be on view near the temple. To read more about the events visit: http://www.metmuseum.org/
The Museum is located at 1000 5th Avenue, N.Y., N.Y. 10028. Tel: 1 (800) 662-3397.