My name is Melanie Pitkin and I am the MAAS (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) curator on ‘Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives’ – a world premiere exhibition developed in collaboration with the British Museum. At the heart of the show, are six ancient Egyptian mummies who lived and died along the Nile Valley between 1800 and 3000 years ago. Each mummy has their own unique story to tell, illustrated through their 3D CT scan visualisations and more than 200 objects of funerary use and daily life.
For me, the opportunity to work so closely with these mummies has been an incredibly humbling one. But, this feeling took some time to really sink in, since I did not actually have the chance to meet the mummies face-to-face until 8 months after I started work on the show (this is what happens when you develop an exhibition with an institution on the other side of the world!). Now that the exhibition is open to the public, however, I have been spending many wonderful hours bringing the mummies and our museum visitors closer together. In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than sharing my knowledge and passion for Egyptology with other people, especially where it concerns past human experiences and the way that these are still relevant to our own.
Melanie Pitkin is a Curator at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum) in Sydney, Australia and a PhD candidate in Egyptology at Macquarie University. She has worked on a number of archaeological projects in Egypt, including the South and North Tombs Cemetery projects at Tell el-Amarna and the Teti Pyramid Cemetery at Saqqara. She is also a tour leader to Egypt and was the recent recipient of the inaugural Egypt Exploration Society Cairo fellowship.