Contributions to the AICCM National Conference 2013, Adelaide 23-25 October


Artlab Australia has developed an innovative program for school groups linked to the Australian Curriculum for History and Science with the objective of introducing children aged 10-14 to conservation and science concepts in a fun and engaging manner. The story of ancient Egyptian mummies, and in particular Tutankhamen, has always excited and engaged children. Using role play, conservators at Artlab introduce the children to the story of Tutankhamen and then lead them to the Ancient Egypt gallery in the Museum to investigate the two Egyptian mummies on display. The mummies were examined using a CT scanner and a detailed forensic analysis undertaken to learn more about their lives and deaths.

The face of one of the mummies has been re–created from the scans by an artist. Hieroglyphics on the sarcophagus of one of the mummies provides clues the children which they use in an activity to piece together broken tablets with messages and translate the hieroglyphics. The message relates to Bastet the cat god and a reproduction of a mummified cat is shown to the students who are asked the question: “Is it real or fake?” Using inspection, analysis and logic, the students must determine the authenticity of the mummy.

A modification of this program was also used to engage students at Aboriginal schools in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in northern South Australia. The difference in language skills and educational levels were taken into account so that the program was more accessible. Using costume and props, the children made a classmate into the mummy of Tutankhamen providing them with an engaging ‘hands on’ educational experience.


Egypt, Tutankhamen, Hieroglyphics, South Australian Museum, Australian Curriculum

AICCM National Conference 2013
Paper author:
Kristin Phillips and Justin Gare