COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition

A Send-Off from Lost Egypt Exhibit Producer, Kate Storm

It’s been an amazing summer with “Lost Egypt” at COSI. There were several particularly memorable experiences for me.

  1. After years of looking at a small table-top paper scale model of the exhibit, it was incredible to walk into the gallery for the first time and see the real exhibits and murals and walls. Seeing the large scale murals of Egypt, as well as Brad Feinknopf’s photos in the hallway, reminded me of our trip to Egypt.
  2. Watching visitors at our member event with archaeologists Dr. Mark Lehner and Ana Tavares from Ancient Egypt Research Associates, and Dr. Jonathan Elias from the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, was so great. I got to introduce two girls who want to become archaeologists to Ana as they walked through the exhibit!
  3. I saw hundreds of people climb on the camel, build a pyramid, search out the archaeological clues from the Lost City site, move a pyramid block, discover artifacts, watch a show about the afterlife, come face to face with a mummy, explore tomb art, and study the forensic science behind mummies. I really hope we managed to capture some of the excitement and sense of wonder that is the science of archaeology, and share it with our visitors.
  4. We performed formal evaluations, received written comments, and overheard lots of conversations about “Lost Egypt”. We really value all the comments from visitors and colleagues – everything that was said about what you liked and didn’t like, what you found compelling, beautiful, or boring, is so useful in planning our future exhibits. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Now we’re preparing to close “Lost Egypt”. I feel a bit like I’m sending my kid off on her first day of school. “Lost Egypt”is heading out into the world to tour the U.S. for the next several years. It was the most wonderful, exhausting, amazing and challenging work project I’ve ever had. I’m so grateful for the help of Josh, Carli, Jenn and all the others at COSI who helped turn the idea into reality. And the Science Museum of Minnesota team who brought it to life was incredible – I miss working with all of you, and hope we can head off to Jordan or Greece or Mexico for the next adventure some day soon! It’s been a privilege to work on Lost Egypt, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

An interview from the top of the world.

An interview from the top of the world.


Final Week to see Lost Egypt
September 2, 2009, 8:38 am
Filed under: Construction News | Tags: , , ,

This is the final week of the Lost Egypt exhibit. It’s hard to believe that after a 5-year development process, our 3 months of hosting the exhibit is already coming to an end. What a journey it’s been. The Cincinnati Museum Center has just announced that they will host the exhibit this fall, so our team of experts will be packing up the exhibit after Labor Day, and shipping her down to Cincinnati. At least those of us close to the project can drive south 90 minutes to visit! If you haven’t been yet, I would definitely recommend you take advantage of this last week that the exhibit is open, and come down to COSI – the Labor Day deadline is looming…

3D Pottery Puzzle

3D Pottery Puzzle

New “Annie” Rapid Prototype Installed
August 6, 2009, 8:15 am
Filed under: Construction News

COSI makes history – Newly developed model of mummy “Annie” just installed in COSI’s Lost Egypt exhibit – they are the first full-torso, life-size renderings of an Egyptian mummy to be made using the rapid prototype process. Dr. Jonathan Elias, Director of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, produced the 3D models from CT scans taken showing the various layers of the mummy’s wrappings, exclusively for COSI’s Lost Egypt exhibition.

Rapid Prototype Torso

Rapid Prototype Torso

Egypt & Back in 22 Minutes
March 24, 2008, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Our photographer, Brad Feinknopf, has posted a slideshow of photographs from our Egypt trip on his blog. Take a look at these amazing professional photos!

Egypt Trip Conclusion – Back Home
March 18, 2008, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

I am back at work today, and somehow my cubicle feels smaller. There just isn’t enough sunlight coming through, and I would rather tell stories about our trip than plow through my endless email inbox. I’m also struggling with the reality that last week I saw King Tut, and this week I am vacuuming and changing diapers again. There should be some sort of detox program to take you from the dawn of civilization and touching of history, back to the real world of 30-degree rainy, Columbus weather and household chores. Plunging from one to the next is just too hard on the system.

It seems like looking back on our blog entries that we over-used the words awe-inspiring and amazing. But I’m not sure that any other words in the English language would suffice. And even those don’t seem to do justice to the profoundness of what we saw. It was a life changing experience; that’s the only way to put it. My Aunt Sandy wrote me a note that said that reading our entries every day was a bit like peeking out from our pockets to catch a glimpse of what we were experiencing. If that is the case for others as well, then our mission was successful.

Our next challenge will be plowing through the hundreds of priceless images and countless hours of video clips to piece them together into the exhibit materials and promotional elements. I can’t even fathom where we’ll start. And I’m sure we’ll laugh and cry all over again as we look back at them. I am desperately hopeful that the exhibit will give an accurate glimpse into both the science and process of archaeology and the cultural richness that we experienced. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I wish I could broadcast it to the world! So here I am trying!

Goodbye from Egypt!
March 11, 2008, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Today began with an interview with esteemed animal mummy specialist, Salima Ikram, and ended with a journey through the Cairo Museum, a building of priceless treasures which, like everything else we have seen, is hard to describe with words. Room after room of immeasurable riches were a fingertip away.

I found myself standing face-to-face with the mask of King Tut. We stood in a room of mummies including Tuthmosis and Ramses II. We saw the mummy of an 18-foot alligator. We wandered through corridors of towering statues, sarcophagi, and cases of amulets, jewelry, and art. Our guide said there were over 150,000 pieces on display and hundreds of thousands more in the basement and other storage areas.

We fly home tomorrow, and part of me can’t believe the trip is coming to an end, and another part of me feels like we’ve been here for a month based on the amount of experiences we’ve had, and wonders we’ve seen. I should write a more profound and reflective ending, but I’m so tired that I’m having a hard time keeping from falling asleep on the key board. I’ll save a finale for when my brain waves return. Goodbye from Egypt!

Flying High – Literally and Mentally

Author: Carli

We’ve been averaging about 5-to-6 hours of sleep per night, and working about 17-hour days. I can barely keep my eyes open, but the incredible adventures continue every day, and I don’t want to miss a single moment. Yesterday, I got on a hot air balloon at 6AM and floated amongst 30 other balloons, watching the sun rise over the Nile, and taking photographs of the sugarcane fields and the Valley of the Kings below. We hopped an evening flight back from Luxor to Cairo, arriving around 2AM to the hotel, and slept until about 5:30AM this morning. We then headed back out to interview team members from the Giza Plateau Project.

My triumphant moment of the day – interviewing Mark Lehner, living legend of the discipline of Egyptology, esteemed archaeologist, and foremost expert on the pyramids. During the interview, we talked about the Giza Mapping Project, his discovery of the Lost City, the interfacing of different archaeological disciplines to complete pictures of ancient daily life, the importance and relevance of studying ancient Egyptian history, and scientific method involved in the process of archaeology.

The final line of questioning relating to scientific method and the proving or disproving of hypotheses brought me to tears. He essentially outlined the entire educational function of the Lost Egypt exhibit in a way that combined science, fantasy, discovery, curiosity, and the desire to seek out truth.

I couldn’t help but picture children at COSI standing in front of a kiosk station listening to Dr. Lehner speak and becoming inspired to take a similar career path. The impact of the project and the interview itself overwhelmed me. I am so proud of the work we have done here, and the product that will result from our efforts.