Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs set to conquer Sydney

Direct from Egypt, the highly anticipated exhibition, Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs, opens to the public at the Australian Museum on Saturday 18 November 2023.

This spectacular new exhibition – in Australia for the very first time, will showcase 182 exquisite antiquities direct from the pyramids and museums of Egypt, together with their extraordinary stories. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see treasures of these ancient wonders, right here in Sydney.

Ancient Egypt, the land of pharaohs, extraordinary art, cultural splendour, and home to the only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World: the pyramids, has captivated the imagination of people across the globe and across generations.

The name of its legendary pharaoh – Ramses the Great, has also endured. Now, visitors to Sydney can discover the legacy of Ramses the Great and the treasures of the ancient pyramids for themselves.

Director and CEO, Australian Museum, Kim McKay AO said that Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs is the most prestigious cultural exhibition to be hosted by the AM in over a decade.

“Ramses the Great was a phenomenon – a beloved father, incomparable warrior, and prolific builder whose legacy is both political and cultural. Responsible for countless temples, pyramids and statues, the first ever Peace Treaty, and an enormous, influential family, the stories of Ramses have been retold through generations” said McKay.

“The era of Ramses the Great was also a time of incredible artistic innovation. This is all on display in this extraordinary exhibition through signature pieces including: the famous coffin of Ramses the Great, the priceless golden masks of Amenemope, the exquisite carved sarcophagi of Sennedjem, the extraordinary necklace of Psusennes, and mummified animals including cats, crocodiles, and even a lion cub.”

“The exhibition also reveals the unique and sophisticated artistry of the era, as well as the spiritual life of the people during this time. With many priceless treasures from the ancient tombs and pyramids, Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs will also entrance audiences with interactive, multimedia elements and a thrilling VR experience that takes visitors right inside his tomb,” McKay explained. “This is a truly immersive exhibition that puts one of history’s most legendary figures into context with dynamic, modern storytelling.”

Curator of the exhibition, renowned archaeologist and former Minister of Antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass said the one of the most wonderful things about this exhibition is that it reveals the world Ramses took over when he became pharaoh.

“Our modern world is so different from Ancient Egypt. With this exhibition visitors will be immersed in the world of Ramses and discover a completely different way of life,” said Dr Hawass. “Ancient Egypt is a part of history that continues to reveal itself and inspire people across the globe. Even today, the world is thrilled with each new discovery that’s unearthed. It holds an enduring fascination for us all.”

“Works of art – statues, jewellery, carvings – made by Ancient Egyptians were intended to honour and immortalise revered pharaohs. They’re well on their way to doing so, given so many still remain today, bringing their stories to life. These are just a few of the exquisite items included in the exhibition.”

“This is a rare opportunity for Australian audiences to discover the unique craftsmanship and sophistication of objects and artworks dating from within the Bronze Age of 3000 BCE to the Classical Age 1st century CE,” added Dr Hawass.

For those interested in learning more about Ancient Egypt, the AM is presenting Gateway to Egypt, an exclusive season of lectures, conversations, and experiences. Experts, Scholars and Curators will provide a glimpse into life on the Nile Valley and help us understand how the ancient Egyptians viewed their world.

To extend the visitor experience, there are a range of activities, talks and experiences including a thrilling Virtual Reality experience that takes you on a whirlwind tour of the Abu Simbel temples and the Tomb of Queen Nefertari.

In cinematic motion chairs visitors will fly through temples and sandstorms and even come face-to-face with Ramses’ mummy in this electrifying animated journey. Individual Audio Tours are also available, providing a compelling narrative for visitors as they walk through the exhibition and there is a full colour catalogue available for sale, containing essays and in-depth background information about Ramses the Great by Dr Zahi Hawass.

Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs is presented in partnership with World Heritage Exhibitions, Neon/Global and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, with the support of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Proudly supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW Blockbusters Funding initiative, Adventure World and Accor Hotels.

NSW Minister for the Arts, Music, Night-time Economy, Jobs and Tourism, the Hon John Graham MLC, said that
Australians are fortunate to have these irreplaceable and historic artefacts here in Sydney. “Exhibitions of this scale don’t come around very often – they’re complex undertakings that involve hundreds of people and years of negotiation,” said Mr Graham.

“Following the AM’s award-winning renovations, we now have the kind of exhibition the new spaces were made for with Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs and these superb artefacts that have survived 3,000 years.”

“I urge everyone to take a trip back in time to see Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition, an incredible opportunity to visit Ancient Egypt without going further than the Sydney CBD!” said Mr Graham.

Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs
Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney
Exhibition: 18 November 2023 – 19 May 2024
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: www.australian.museum for details.

Image: Funerary Mask of King Amenemopet – courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions