Exhibit: Hollywood’s Egypt

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Als a movie fanatic I love the magic which movies possess. Even if you know that it has all been made up and it has been recorded on sets, they manage to provide experiences that you’ll never be able to experience yourself. Whether that’s a space journey, a war or an adventure. When Hollywood tells its stories it regularly looks back at the past and Egypt seems to be one of the infinite sources of inspiration. Stories about the mystery of the mummy, the beauty of Cleopatra of biblical events have all appeared on the silver screen many times.

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden will open a new exhibit tomorrow named “Hollywood’s Egypt” in which the history of Egypt in movies (including many props from various movies) is combined with the true history. It offers the moviefan a chance to get closer to movie magic and I had a chance to sneak a peak during the press preview.

Costume used in Stargate

Passion for movies and history
Guest curator Hans van den Berg has been fascinated with Egypt for a long time and also the way its history is being turned into movies. He has been keeping track of which movies and TV shows reference Egypt and he can tell about the subject with a lot of passion. Since 2008 he’s been busy with preparing this exhibit and he has managed to create something to show his knowledge about the subject in a fascinating way.

Book of the Dead from The Mummy (1999)

The exhibit
The exhibit is shown in three rooms and consists of movie posters, short movie clips, historical objects and things which were once used on screen. Those include movie costumes from movies like Stargate, Cleopatra and The Mummy Returns and many movie props including the jewelry which Liz Taylor wore in Cleopatra (1963), the scepter and tablets Mozes (Charlton Heston) held in The Ten Commandments (1956) and the Magical book of Amun Ra from The Mummy Returns(1999). As you stroll through it all you realise that Hollywood isn’t always historically accurate when you see the real objects next to the movie props. The difference between the two is fascinating.

For the children a special room has been created, which consists of five different “movie sets” which have their own subject, like the pyramids, the Nile and mummies. Kids will be able to watch clips from various kids movies and tv shows, dress up as a pharaoh en participate in a quiz in which they will learn more about Egypt and have the chance to win a prize.

The costume of pharaoh Kahmunrah as worn in Night at the Museum 2 is also on display

If you are a movie fan this is a very enjoyable exhibit. The mix fo movie history with real history is interesting and the various rooms look beautiful and are well-lit to create the right atmosphere. It allows you to get close to little pieces of movie history, which you really shouldn’t miss.

More information about this exhibit can be found on the site of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.

8 thoughts on “Exhibit: Hollywood’s Egypt

    • I got the invite last minute and I just had to go, even if that meant taking off some time from work. The exhibit will still be available for a couple of months, so if you happen to be in The Netherlands is worth visiting Leiden for it 🙂

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