COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition


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

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.

Advertisements


Final Week to see Lost Egypt by Carli
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 by Carli
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



How to Make a Camel by COSI

Author: Kate

Our exhibit fabricator for Lost Egypt was the Science Museum of Minnesota. The camel was subcontracted out to Blue Rhino Studio, who create amazing animal and architectural models.

The first step was to research what camels look like. While in Egypt, COSI photographer Brad Feinknopf paid a guard to let us photograph his guard camel while it was lying down, from all angles.

Camel Research #1

Camel Research #1

Camel Research #2

Camel Research #2

These photos and other research provided Blue Rhino Studio with front, side and back views of a camel, which they scaled to an average camel height, width and length based upon project advisor Jonathan Elias’ recollections and other photo research. From there, artist Jim Burt at Blue Rhino amalgamated the information, started sculpting and gave Sarah the Camel her personality.

Jim Burt was the main artist and had 2 to 3 people helping him. 2’ x 4’ x 8’ urethane foam blocks were glued and then carved and sanded to get the basic shape.

Sculpting #1

Sculpting #1

Sculpting #2

Sculpting #2

Sculpting #3

Sculpting #3

Sculpting #4

Sculpting #4

This was then covered with water-based fiberglass cloth similar to a paper mache’ process.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass

Then a water-based epoxy was applied over the fiberglass. The hair and detailing were added in the epoxy layer while it was in a soft putty state. The epoxy was then color-stained with base pigment colors and acrylic paint highlights were added after that.

Fiberglass and Paint

Fiberglass and Paint

The project from start to finish was estimated at 12 weeks, including the photo research, back-and-forth discussion, sculpting, modeling, painting, etc. The discussions were about things such as the camel’s size; whether it should be made of soft or hard material (in order to last the 6+ years that Lost Egypt will be touring, the camel needed to be sturdy); the angle of the head in order to make it more appealing and photogenic; the color of the fur; how to give the impression of those long eyelashes that camels have; and whether we could add an interactive feature to make the camel spit or grunt (unfortunately, the budget didn’t allow this!).

Face

Face

Body

Body

The neck and tail were reinforced with metal tubing and fiberglassed into the foam substructure. This made Sarah the Camel very durable.

The camels ears are bent metal covered with epoxy. The teeth are epoxy. The stirrups are metal – painted to look like leather straps and act as a step up to the camel.

Ears

Ears

Ears Finished

Ears Finished

Teeth

Teeth

The saddle is modeled upon photo research of camel saddles, with wood and metal frame construction. We added foam padding for comfort, a real middle eastern blanket and an underblanket replicated from pictures.

Blue Rhino Guys on Camel

Blue Rhino Guys on Camel

The materials used are all high quality and fire-rated, giving us a unique and sturdy ambassador for the Lost Egypt exhibit.

Finished Camel

Finished Camel

Blue Rhino on Camel

Blue Rhino on Camel

Camel at ASTC

Camel at ASTC



A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words by COSI
March 20, 2009, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Construction News | Tags: , , ,

Author: Josh

We just received some pictures of the artifacts that are going to be featured in the exhibit, and they look gorgeous! A big thanks to the Brooklyn Museum, both for loaning us the artifacts for Lost Egypt and for the beautiful pictures.

One of the aspects of this show that I’m most excited about is how these artifacts are being used as a part of the show. For example, be sure to check out the image of the stele. At our hieroglyphics station guests will have the opportunity to both translate a portion of the text and to hear what it may have sounded like in ancient Egyptian. We’ll also have x-rays of some animal mummies and CT scans that encourage guests to search for amulets such as those included in the show. It’s a really unique way for guests to interact with these objects as both pieces of art and scientific tools. Plus, I just think it’s really cool.



AERA is back in the field! by COSI

Author: Kate

Our Lost Egypt project advisers from Ancient Egypt Research Associates have entered another field season in Egypt.

Lost City Excavation (1 of 2)

Lost City Excavation (1 of 2)

Lost City Excavation (2 of 2)

Lost City Excavation (2 of 2)

Their goals at the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders’ site this season are:

  • Excavate House Unit 1, a large high-status house in the western section of the town.
  • Investigate an area we call the Chute to better understand its function.
  • Investigate remote sensing anomalies detected by Glen Dash’s team in the Western Extension of the town to determine the type and date of buildings that may lie in this area.
  • Investigate the construction of the Lost City enclosure wall.
  • Excavate Late Period burials in the Western Extension and train the field school osteology group.
Wall of the Crow

Wall of the Crow

Students and teachers have just started arriving for the Giza Field School, in which students will learn advanced skills in Ceramics, Illustration, Survey, and Osteology. Some of the Egyptian graduates will be teaching the classes to the next group, and eventually the school will be an Egyptian-run operation.

We’re very excited to see what they discover in their research this season. Check out the blog for their 2009 season – which is the 20th field season of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project under Mark Lehner. You’ll see postings from some of our advisors – Ana Tavares and Mary Anne Murray!
http://aerablog.wordpress.com/category/2009-field-season/

Ana Tavares

Ana Tavares

Mary Anne Murray

Mary Anne Murray



The Pieces are Coming Together! by COSI
February 6, 2009, 10:13 am
Filed under: Construction News | Tags: , ,

Author: Carli

I went to the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) last week to check out the exhibit components for Lost Egypt, accompanied by our VP of Experiences, Steve Langsdorf, and Senior Director of Design, Erik Burdock. While COSI is the official “producer” of the exhibit, we have tremendous help from our partners at SMM in building the actual experiences, creating the large structures, and putting all the pieces together.

Mummy reflective room

It’s been almost a year since this blog began with our trip to Egypt to collect the information, take photos and video, and conduct interviews. So the anticipation of walking into the warehouse at SMM to see the exhibit components come to life was really a thrill. As we entered the warehouse, we could see the giant canopy tents, and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. One of my favorite pictures from the trip was of the young niece and nephew of our Egyptologist guide wandering among the towering pillars of Karnak Temple; their tiny hands tightly gripped together, and anxious faces staring up at the columns. It was a beautiful juxtaposition of modern-day children consumed by the power of these ancient structures. My heart nearly skipped a beat, when I saw the picture again. Only now, it was a life-size canvas mural, built into the walls of the exhibit, that would allow the entire world to experience what we saw.

Exhibit wall with murals

The SMM team lead us through each component of the exhibit, and we tried out a few of the interactives including the rock challenge, where guests will be able to test the technologies that may have been used to move the enormous stones used to the build the pyramids. We also tested the Sands of Time Aeolian Landscape, showing how sites in Egypt are lost under the changing sands. And tried the pottery re-construction, which was a 3-dimensional pottery puzzle that made my head spin! The most exciting structure we saw was the pseudo-tomb hallway with reconstructions of artwork and hieroglyphics, dimly lit to reflect the actual insides of the tombs.

Art & heiroglyphics on the 'tomb wall'

And I couldn’t help but be in awe of the engineers who were working on what will eventually be the climate-controlled display cases for the artifacts, animal mummies, and human mummy. The intricacy of design, material specifications, and other rules and regulations for construction in order to put these priceless artifacts on display was mind boggling.

Future Mummy case

All in all, it was a fascinating trip, and I really think the city of Columbus will have something to be proud of when the exhibit finally arrives and opens this summer!