The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ancient world on display

This winter, see for yourself the glories of ancient Egypt or acquaint yourself with the Harappan civilisation.

The Indian Museum is organising special displays based on two of the earliest civilisations to welcome the rush of visitors, particularly children.

The Egyptian gallery, boasting a 5,000-year-old mummy, had already undergone a facelift with state-of-the-art preservation techniques and illuminated displays. A separate, new Harappan gallery, highlighting the Indus Valley civilisation, is in the offing in the Pre-historic section, situated on the ground floor of the building. Spanning about 10,000 sq ft, the gallery is expected to open in the coming week.

'We have planned a meaningful experience for museum visitors. We have already undertaken a number of developments at the Egyptian gallery, which is one of our most appreciated displays. A new gallery showcasing the Indus Valley civilisation will be thrown open to the public in the coming weeks. The presentation is made in a way that will enthrall both children and adults,' said S.K. Basu, museum director.

The Egyptian gallery highlights the era from 5000 BC to 300 BC, including the pre-historic era, unification of Upper and Lower Egypt and the various dynasties. Spanning roughly 1,600 sq ft, the gallery displays articles, pictures and other artefacts, with the mummy holding centrestage.

The gallery has been air-conditioned and has separate sections for different eras of the Egyptian civilisation. Special preservation methods were introduced for the mummy. 'The climate of Egypt is hot and dry, which itself acts as a preservative. But here, it is hot and humid and so we had to take special care for preservation. Latest techniques were used to preserve the mummy,' added Basu.

The gallery boasts both original artefacts from Egypt as well as miniatures and copies. The entire display is centred around a fibreglass Giza pyramid and the mummy. Various articles of daily use, like utensils, gold statues and other items, which were buried along with the mummified Egyptian pharaohs, are displayed.

The mystery of the Indus Valley civilisation and the city of Harappa will be the main theme of the new gallery. Apart from pictographic representations of Harappa, various artefacts, many for the first time, including terracotta idols, toys and figurines, will be shown.

Details of artefacts have been written in an easy and lucid language for children's benefit.

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