SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A new exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park will highlight the life and accomplishments of Ramses II, featuring rare gold and recently discovered animal mummies, according to a press release.
Ramses, who ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C. and is now called Ramses the Great, built the temple of Abu Simbel into solid rock. Historians consider him the most likely candidate to be the pharaoh described in the Biblical story of Moses.
The exhibit opens Aug. 20 and closes Feb. 12, 2023. Tickets can be purchased here by date and are $35 for a single adult non-museum member on weekdays, and $40 on weekends. Youth, seniors and people with valid student IDs get discounted tickets.
This exhibition is the first on Ramses II to be presented in San Francisco. It will feature “royal statues, sarcophagi, spectacular masks, magnificent jewelry, and ornate golden tomb treasures” that “reveal the fabulous wealth of the pharaohs, the astonishing skill of ancient Egyptian tomb builders, and the superb workmanship of Egyptian artists,” according to a press release from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
A virtual reality component about Ramses and one of his wives Nefertari, called Ramses and Nefertari: Journey to Osiris, is viewable at extra charge.
“The immersive VR experience includes cinematic-motion chairs that take visitors on a whirlwind tour of two of Ramses’s most impressive monuments, Abu Simbel and Nefertari’s Tomb,” according to the press release.
The mummies include those of small cats, lion cubs and a mongoose, the press release states.
Renée Dreyfus, who is the George and Judy Marcus Distinguished Curator and Curator in Charge of Ancient Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is the organizing curator of the exhibit.
“I always thought an exhibition about Ramses the Great would make a fascinating introduction to his life and times,” Dreyfus stated. “When I learned that the eminent Egyptologist Zahi Hawass was organizing one, I jumped at the chance to bring it to San Francisco. It is also thanks to Dr. Hawass, that they approved so many rare and spectacular works to travel.”
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Some of the objects have never been outside of Egypt.
“It is a pleasure to host these dazzling objects on the West Coast — many newly discovered and having never left Egypt before — that demonstrate the opulence and power of ancient Egyptian civilization,” Dreyfus stated. “Since Egypt is currently reorganizing the display of their antiquities in various museums throughout the country, once these objects return to Egypt, they will likely stay put for decades. So this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
KRON4 spoke with Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian minister of antiquities, who said that he is helping excavate Ramses’ tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
“It was damaged by flood, so now we’re working on excavating the tomb,” Hawass said.
Hawass said that Ramses’ mummy is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where “it can’t be moved.” He also said that of the artifacts in the exhibit, “most are mainly related to Ramses II or people under Ramses II.”