Featuring 182 invaluable artefacts, including the coffin of King Ramses II, one of the most impressive royal coffins from ancient Egypt ever to be discovered – as well as the timeless beauty of jewelry, funerary masks, amulets, and animal sarcophagi, many of which have never left Egypt before, the “Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs” exhibition was officially inaugurated on Thursday.
To the sound of oriental beats and the songs of the renowned Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, the Australian Museum in Sydney welcomed attendees at the opening ceremony of “Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs,” which will open its doors to the public on Saturday, November 18.
The more than 500 invitees included top governmental officials, along with prominent Australian figures in arts and culture, as well as famous Australian influencers and bloggers.
Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, John Graham, Minister for the Arts, Music and Night-time Economy, Mohamed Khalil, Egypt’s Consul-General in Sydney, Kim McKay AO, Director & CEO of the Australian Museum, and Ron Tan, Chairman and CEO of Neon Global, which organized the exhibition, also attended.
Earlier in the day, a press conference announcing the opening of the exhibition took place, where more than 100 Australian and international news agencies, newspapers, and TV channels attended.
During the press conference, former Minister of Antiquities and curator of the exhibition Zahi Hawass addressed the Australian people, museum visitors, and media via video call. Hawass emphasized how the exhibition unveils the world Ramses entered upon assuming the role of the pharaoh.
"The contemporary world starkly contrasts with Ancient Egypt and through this exhibition, visitors will delve into Ramses' world, encountering a vastly different way of life," added Hawass.
He asserted that the allure of Ancient Egypt persists endlessly, captivating people worldwide, as attested by ongoing excitement over new archaeological discoveries.
"Australian audiences have a rare opportunity to explore the unparalleled craftsmanship and refinement of objects and artworks spanning from the Bronze Age to the Classical Age," Hawass concluded.
McKay stated said King Ramses II was truly extraordinary – a revered father, unmatched warrior, and prolific builder whose impact extends across both political and cultural realms. With credit for numerous temples, pyramids, and statues, he not only brokered the world's first-ever peace treaty but also left behind an extensive and influential family. The tales of Ramses continue to be passed down through generations.
“As of now, 100,000 tickets have been sold,” she asserted.
Mostafa Waziry added that all the tickets available for November are sold out, and he expects that by the end of its tenure in Sydney, the exhibition will see one million visitors. Waziry recalled other cities the exhibition has visited during the past two years, such as Paris, where it received 817,000 visitors during a five-month stay.
He also gave a short account of Ramses' exceptional 67-year reign and discussed recent discoveries in the Saqqara necropolis.
“Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs” is an all-new multisensory museum experience in which visitors will discover a stunningly preserved collection of artefacts, and use digital technology to enrich their experience.
With cinematic motion chairs, viewers can fly through temples, and sandstorms, and even come face-to-face with Ramses’ mummy in an electrifying animated journey.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Australian audiences to discover the legacy of Ramses the Great and how his achievements have lived on through millennia,” concluded Waziry.