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The exhibition is organized by United Exhibits Group and the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Fascinating Egypt 3

Celebrating 5000 Years of a United Egypt 7

Message of Pharonic Egypt 10

Balance and Justice – the Concept of Ma’at 11

Respect for the Female Principle 12

Quest for Immortality – A goal for all 13

Books of the Netherworld 14

The Amduat and its Significance 17

Overview and Floor Plan 20

Review and Rationale 27

The Development of the Exhibition 28

Experience and Expertise of the Society of the

Friends of the Royal Tombs and of United Exhibits 31

The Concept – An Overview 34

Project Description 39

Concept and Exhibition Design Description 40

International Perspectives 42

Conclusion 44

The Fascination of Egypt
Ancient Egypt has always been widely reputed to be a deeply fascinating
culture – even by its contemporaries. This widespread fascination of the
Pharaonic age is as strong today as it was then. One indication of this interest
is the enormous number of people visiting all well-produced exhibitions about
Egypt. A prominent example is the last major Egypt exhibition that travelled
the world: the exhibition of the Tutankhamun treasures during the period 1961–81. Up till now, this
has been the single most successful exhibition in the world in terms of numbers of visitors.

At the turn of the Millennium and some twenty years after the Tutankhamun exhibition, the time
is ripe for a new kind of Egypt exhibition, one using futuristic technology and like its very
successful predecessor, it will be exhibited world-wide.

Isis with wings and Ma’at feather in hand. (Object included in exhibit.)

At the heart of the exhibition is the rebuilding of the wonderful and artistically fascinat-
ing burial chamber of the tomb of the great Pharaoh Thutmosis III. Before entering the bur-
ial chamber, the visitor is asked to take part in a quest – a quest for insight into the ancient
Egyptian concept of immortality, but also for the hidden treasures of Egypt. The journey
starts in modern Egypt, where the visitor crosses the Nile and walks into the sunset and
into the Underworld and back in time to the life and death of Thutmosis III.

The original nature of this exhibition experience is intensified by the presence of magnif-
icent and unique original objects from the Cairo and Luxor museums. The visitor
witnesses a burial scene which will give an insight into how a Pharaoh becomes immortal,
both physically and spiritually. Entering the next chamber, the visitor discovers the mar-
vellous statue of Hathor from the Luxor Museum. This goddess is, together with the other
deities, introducing the first hour of the Amduat. An exciting interaction between the orig-
inal objects and the first hour leads the visitor into the next room, where the 12 hours are
explained in more detail, supported by original papyri found in the tombs. Next, the visitor
walks through the antechamber and reaches the reconstruction of Thutmosis III’s burial
chamber. There is also a chance to visit an area dedicated to additional information by
touch screen computers, advanced interactive stations etc.

Leaving the tomb the visitor walks into the sunrise and back to modern Egypt – the
indication being that the tradition and culture of ancient Egypt is still reflected in the
modern day rural Egypt.

Deir el Bahari - Temples of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III.
Why are so many people interested in – indeed fascinated by – Egypt? In our civilization, with its
ever faster leaps of progress, we find a longing to reconnect with basic questions regarding our
human existence, its purpose and meaning. There is a growing interest in the first half of the
recorded history of mankind in which Pharaonic Egypt played a key role.

The basis for the popularity of Pharaonic culture becomes evident when we consider that it was
around 3000 B.C., on the banks of the river Nile, that the first political unit was created, bringing
together under one rule all parts of present-day Upper and Lower Egypt. This was the beginning
of a 5000-year continuity of ancient Egyptian culture. At that time a unique state came into
existence: Egypt. It is the only one in the world that has lasted over 5000 years and is still today a
unity. Around 3200 B.C., hieroglyphic writing began to develop. The first historical records and the
most ancient religious texts of mankind have their origins in ancient Egypt. We can thus say that
the recorded history of humanity came into being with Egypt and the ancient Orient.

The Unification of
Upper & Lower Egypt 500 Years
3000 B.C. Before 0 0 2000 A.D.

First Half of Human History

3000 Years Pharaonic Egypt

5000 Years United Egypt

Sphinx of Thutmosis III, grey granite. (Object included in exhibit).

Celebrating 5000 Years
of a United Egypt
The beginning of the new Millenium seems to offer a unique opportunity to
celebrate Egypt, as it is the only country in the world that can look back on
a continuity of culture and history stretching over 5000 years. Egypt remains a state that
continues to play a central role, not only in the Arab world, but in the entire Islamic world. Egypt
is known all over the world for its political influence, history and culture.
“QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" is conceived as a tribute to the
ancestors of Egypt, who created the first recorded, highly developed civilization in the world,
a civilization which, according to the famous historian Arnold Toynbee, has the unique merit of
having lasted for around 3000 years, mainly peaceful ones, interrupted only by relatively short
periods of crisis. To overcome a crisis, basic renewal is needed. How was it possible that the
Pharaonic culture was able to renew itself again and again and hence endure over 3000 years?
What myth did they have that enabled them to overcome social crisis successfully?
The key to these questions, which concern all human beings, is the Pharaonic concept of
sustainability and renewal, as well as the emphasis on a relationship with the divine, the
feminine, nature, and the afterlife. In order to bring this message to the attention of people
today an Egyptian exhibition is opening its doors in the year 2001.

The exhibition “QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY – The Hidden Treasures of
Egypt" will promote world-wide awareness of Pharaonic philosophy.


facsimile of the artistically unique painting of the first complete
Amduat, the famous book of the Netherworld, which describes the
journey of the Sun god from sunset to his renewal in the morning.
The book contains the knowledge needed by the deceased Pharaoh
in order to be able to rise again and become like the great Sun God

A display of exquisite and unique original objects from this and other
relevant periods (some of these are displayed for the first time to the
public, both indside and outside Egypt) illustrates the life of
Thutmosis III as well as the rituals around the burial, mummification
and the belief in resurrection. These exhibits will provide the visitor
with a complete and unique experience of the amazing Pharaonic
Monumental columns rising toward
the sky. Great Temple at Karnak
Unlike previous Egypt exhibitions, the exhibition “QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY – The Hidden
Treasures of Egypt" will, in its entirety, produce a helpful overview of Egyptian reflections
about life, death and renewal, a lifeview that contains answers to those basic human ques-
tions that were dealt with afterwards by all the major religions. This exhibition thus seeks
to communicate, explain and celebrate these worldwide common concerns in the light of
the most recent Pharaonic knowledge; they are commented on and edited by the fore-
most experts in the field in a narrative style that makes the content and context come to

For the first time, this exhibition will emphasize the thinking and wisdom of ancient
Egypt in addition to displaying the beauty of its art.

Increased awareness of the values of Pharaonic Egypt will help to protect and restore the
Royal Tombs of Egypt and other sites that are listed by UNESCO as part of our world
cultural heritage; it is a simple fact that we only protect something when we recognize its

Burial chamber of Pharaoh Thutmosis III , with the magnificent decoration of the Amduat.

from Pharaonic Egypt
Nature protects Egypt on all sides: In the north, the border is the
Mediterranean. In the east, the Red Sea and the Sinai, in the west, the Libyan
desert and in the south, the first cataract at Aswan, – all form natural pro-
tective barriers.

These natural barriers allowed Egypt to defend its richness and wealth
with the minimum of effort, in contrast to other early highly developed
civilizations, such as the ones in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Thus,
instead of being mainly concerned with diffuse security of the physical
aspects of life, Pharaonic Egypt was able to devote energy and time to
search for answers to the eternal questions of mankind:
What are the basic laws of nature
that humans have to respect?
What are guiding principles of life?
Where do we go from here?
What do we know about the afterlife?

Ramses the Great colonade leading up

to the Temple of Luxor.
Balance and Justice,
the Concept of Ma’at
One of the most enduring and fascinating aspects of
the Pharaonic culture is the idea of the divine cosmic order, balance and justice, symbolized in the
goddess Ma’at. She had to be respected by all
humans on earth, the Pharaoh included. Today we
see in the concept of Má’at a recognition of a
sustainable relationship with nature and its laws as
well as our relation to our fellow human beings. This
concept of respect for the goddess Ma'at is based on
the individual´s relationship with this goddess, since
the individual is responsible for living his life
in accordance with the cosmic order to sustain a
harmonious society and ensure his resurrection.

The goddess Ma’at is a symbol, testifying that the Pharaoh lived and
reigned according to her rules. (Object included in the exhibit)

Respect for the Female Principle
The respect of the Pharaonic culture for the female principle (and thus women in general) is
a remarkably modern feature of Pharaonic culture. This can be seen, for instance, in the way
couples were represented at that time: husband and wife were very often drawn the same size
and with the same attention to detail.
The function of women with regard to all
renewal was fully recognized and played a
central role in the individual’s quest for
immortality. In our guidebook through the
Netherworld – the Amduat – we find the
goddesses of the hour leading the Sun God
through the Netherworld.

Sennefer and Senaj. Couple depicted in the same size and with
the same attention to detail. Grey granite. (object included in
the exhibit.)
Quest for Immortality-a Goal for All
In the early days of Egyptian civilization, the Pharaoh represented the divine on earth. The oldest
religious texts in the world – the Pyramid Texts of Egypt – tell us about how the Pharaoh became
immortal after his death. In a later period, the Quest for Immortality increasingly came to be
something shared by the so-called Nobles, till gradually, this Quest for Immortality became a
common goal for all.
In Christianity, the emerging idea of the “inner Christ" is akin
to a further step in this growing awareness of an inner
immortal centre. Thus Pharaonic culture is at the root of
this development of a growing consciousness about our
inner potential. It is the cradle of the recognition that there
is more to human life than just mere biological existence.
Human beings also have the potential of a spiritual
dimension to their lives – witnessing the growth of some-
thing that does not perish.

The goddess Isis, greywacke. (Object included in

the exhibit.)

The Books of the
There are various Egyptian books on the afterlife, the most famous being
the Pyramid Texts from the Old Kingdom (after 2500 B.C.), the Coffin Texts
from the Middle Kingdom and the books of the Netherworld from the New

The first royal Book from the Netherworld in the New Kingdom (after 1500
B.C.) is the Amduat, the book that decorates the tomb of Thutmosis III, which
will be rebuilt for this exhibition.

The Amduat is followed by other books on the Netherworld that were also
painted on the walls of the tombs of the succeeding Pharaohs.

The main topic dealt with in the books on the

Netherworld from the New Kingdom is the renewal
of the Sun God. His journey through the night for his
daily renewal is related to the renewal and resurrec-
tion of the Pharaoh as well as to the yearly renewal of
creation that is experienced in Egypt by the annual

above: Egyptian guard from present time (year 2001) standing

in front of the Amduat in the tomb of Thutmosis III.

below: From the fifth scene of Amduat.


EAST Sunrise WEST Sunset

In the morning, In the evening, the
the Sun God 12 1
old Sun God
resurrects as enters the night,
child or Scarab. 11 2 the Netherworld.
8 5
7 6
Night – Journey of the Sun God on the Nile
of the Netherworld through the Twelve hours
of the night.

The goddess of the sky, Nut, swallowing the sun in the evening, renewing it in her body and giving birth to the new sun in
the morning. Painting from another book on the Netherworld. In the tomb of Ramses VI.

The Amduat and its
The AMDUAT is the oldest Egyptian book of the Netherworld composed in the New
Kingdom, dating back some 3500 years. It contains the description of the renewal
of the Sun God, who every day becomes old and weak at evening time, when going down in the West. Yet
he rises in the morning again rejuvenated. How is that possible? How could the sun become young and
revitalized during the night, during his night-journey? What happens in this time?

The journey of the Sun God takes twelve hours, each one of them containing an enormous amount of
insight into the human psyche. The whole Amduat could be called the first "scientific publication" of
mankind, describing or mapping the collective unconscious and providing answers to basic human
questions. If this mystery of rejuvenation can be understood, if an individual consciousness can
accompany the Sun God on his journey through the Netherworld and consequently learn how to deal
with its dangerous and destructive forces, then she/he would also acquire an insight into the secret of
eternal renewal and thus obtain a feeling of closeness to the immortal
Sun God. That is why the Amduat says: “It is good for the dead to have this
knowledge, but also good for a person on earth – a million times proven."

This aim of becoming conscious of the functioning of the inner Sun God, or
the inner great human, was more clearly differentiated later in the tradition
of alchemy, where the goal of reuniting the individual soul with this eternal
spirit was named the “cultivation of gold" in Arabic alchemy, a symbol for the
growth of consciousness. By that they meant the same as what was redis-
covered in our time by C.G. JUNG and named the process of individuation.
One of the main insights of the Amduat is the fact that the Twelve Hour-goddesses are the ones that
guide the Sun God safely through the Netherworld. These twelve goddesses are different aspects of
Hathor, the Goddess of Love.
From the 4th hour of Amduat.

A detail of the Sun God in his barque in the 12th hour. The whole renewal of the Sun God in the
Amduat could also be understood in terms of the restoration of the feminine eye-sight of the
Sun God, represented by the cobra snake around the sun disk on the top of the Sun God.

Overview and Floor Plan
The experience begins with the visitor entering a room where magnificent
images create a feeling of crossing the Nile and stepping towards the sunset.
This allows the spectator to step back in time following the Sun God on his
nocturnal journey to his renewal. In this room, beautiful objects from the
period are highlighted together with pictures of
Head of Thutmosis I, the monuments and architectual struc-
painted limestone.(Object tures created at the time of
included in exhibit.)
Thutmosis III.

Life and Time of Thutmosis III (1490 – 1436B.C.)
The second room opens into one of Egypt’s most prosperous periods. For 20 years, 1479-158 B.C.,
Queen Hatshepsut ruled peacefully, together with her stepson Thutmosis III. Her famous expedition
gold, stone, to Punt (modern Somalia), commemorated in her temple of Deir el Bahari, is proof of Egypt’s far-
faience. reaching trade relations in the south.
included in In the north, Thutmosis III, after becoming sole ruler, smashed a dangerous coalition of Syrian city
exhibit.) rulers, united with the powerful state of Mitanni, in the battle of Megiddo (1457 B.C.). 16 more expedi-
tions to Syria were necessary, but Egypt managed to maintain her position as the dominating
power in the Near East. Thutmosis’ crossing the river Euphrates left a deep impression on the world
of his day.

At the same time, Thutmosis III was one of the greatest architects in Egyptian history. From Byblos
in the Lebanon, up to the Gebel Barkal deep in Nubia, temples were enlarged or newly built. The
lion’s share of the king’s booty and foreign tribute went to the temple of Karnak, the chief cult cen-
tre of Amun, king of the gods. The decoration of his tomb reflects the creative innovations in the
field of religion which led to the composition of books describing the nocturnal path and daily
rebirth of the sun. In the splendid tombs of his high officials, like his vizir Rekhmire, we follow more
worldly activities: supervising the tributes of foreign peoples, inspecting work in the workshops and
on the fields belonging to the state. Some of the officials even report their activities during
Thutmosis’ struggles in Syria.

Thebes (modern Luxor) was the official centre of the country, housing many important temples,
and in addition the tombs of kings, queens, and officials. Another important centre, especially for
the administration of state and army, was the old capital Memphis near modern Cairo. Abydos was
important as the holy city of Osiris, the ruler of the dead, and Elephantine as the mythic source of
the Nile.

Many statues of Thutmosis III are preserved, showing him in the vigor of his life, and mirroring the
Egyptian notion of Kingship in the New Kingdom. Some of the best will be shown in this exhibition.

From the room depicting the life and time of Thutmosis III, we move into the burial chamber
where we follow the ritual process that in accordance with the ancient Egyptians made the
Pharaoh immortal both physically and spiritually. Original objects from several Pharaohs and
Sarcophagus of dynasties are displayed in this room, illustrating and describing the process that prepared the
Nitocris.(Object Pharaoh for his journey to the Netherworld.
included in exhibit.)

The Death of a Pharaoh

After a long reign of 53 years, Thutmosis "went to heaven and joined the sun," as
the Egyptian formula for the death of a Pharaoh runs. The rulers of the New
Kingdom no longer built pyramids, but had rock tombs prepared for them in a
remote valley of the Westbank of Thebes (modern Luxor), the Valley of the Kings.
The tombs were constructed already during the occupants’ lifetime, but only at
the burial were filled with all things necessary for a new life in the beyond.

These included food and drink, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics and perfumes.
Boats as the typical vehicles used in Egypt were necessary also for freely moving
around in the beyond. Chariots too, were included in the darkness of the
Netherworld, amulets and weapons for protection, furniture like beds (with their
headrests) and chairs for the comfort of the deceased. Hundreds of small figures
called ushabti were meant as substitutes of the deceased if he should call for
compulsory labour; figures of gods served as further protection and helped in
regeneration after death, as well as certain amulets of which the scarab and the
holy eye of Horus were the most important.

To enable the mummified body to use all his senses and enjoy the rich burial
equipment, the ritual of "Opening the mouth" was necessary, originally to give life
to a statue. We find a very complete copy of this ritual in the tomb of Rekhmire,
the vizir of Thutmosis III.

We leave the burial chamber and enter a room in which we find the splendid
statue of Hathor. She is our guiding goddess, and we recognise her voice as the
narrator throughout the exhibit. She, together with other deities, represented by the
original objects, are all gods presented in the 1st hour of the Amduat, and this room
gives the visitor the opportunity to get an overview of the significance of the
Egyptian gods and their role in protecting the Pharaoh on his journey to the Netherworld.

The visitor now enters into a room where each hour

is presented in summary together with the story
line in the Amduat and supplemented by a series of
original objects, including papyri depicting the
Amduat found in various tombs in Thebes.

View from the Temple at Karnak.

After this room the visitor can either go directly into the antechamber or pass
through a room where additional, more advanced information is given in the
form of touch screen computers, advanced interactive games (see later) and
the like.

The visitor may thus choose to walk directly into the antechamber of the tomb of Thutmosis III
and, from here, through a narrow corridor into the complete reconstructed tomb of Thutmosis
III. Here the visitor gets a feeling of the tomb in its natural size and with the Amduat on the
walls as the Pharaoh’s guide and "helping hand" to the Netherworld.

From the tomb the visitor walks through the 12th and final hour of the Amduat and
towards the rising sun, thereby returning to modern Egypt, where again magnificent
images of the rural culture of modern Egypt will lead us to reflect on ancient Egypt.
From here the visitor enters into a special ancient Egyptian game room, whose
aim is to bring about a playful understanding of the different themes, and to
make the exhibition come alive. Finally, there is the bookshop/merchandising area.

The concept and design of the exhibit has been developed by United Exhibits Group and the
National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Approx. 150 rare original objects from the Cairo and Luxor Museums, many of them
never having been previously displayed inside or outside Egypt until now, will be
exhibited in the different rooms to highlight the experience and – once again – to
surprise and amaze the visitors.

Overview of the rooms of the exhibition
Entry Scene
Nile & Desert; Sunrise & Sunset; East & West; Life & Death
The visitor gets the feeling of crossing the Nile and passing by the cities of modern Egypt,
such as Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan.
Life & Time of Thutmosis III
Introduces his life-story and his time; acts as a pre-story leading to the burial of
Thutmosis III. We will see here exquisite statues and other artefacts of Thutmosis III and
Hatshepsut. The story-telling goes on.
Burial of a Pharaoh
Funeral rites for a Pharaoh. The art and the meaning of mummification.
Here the visitor will get an explanation of these afterlife ideas explained with artefacts
from the Tutankhamun treasure.
Entering the World of the Deities
Who are the gods and goddesses, appearing in the book of the afterlife, the Amduat, that
we find in the tomb of Thutmosis III? What was their function and meaning? The goddess
Hathor becomes alive and reveals herself as being the guide through the exhibition and
the Netherworld.
The 12 Hours of the Amduat
Hathor shows and explains the meaning of the picture-story in the tomb, splendidly
illustrated by original objects.
The Deepening of The Knowledge
Here the visitors can deepen their knowledge. In this room the visitor is in an interactive
area presenting all the subjects shown in the exhibit (backlit panels, touch screens, advan-
ced interactive stations). Alternatively, they proceed directly from the short explanation in
the diorama to the tomb.
Facsimile of the painted tomb. Real size (1:1). Here the visitor will experience SILENCE,
but there is also the option of listening to a running commentary over the personal
Exit Scene
The essence of the meaning of the Amduat is shown symbolically: The sun rises over the
horizon, the udjat-eye opens, the desert becomes green. (Nut-scene). From here the visitor
enters into a special ancient Egyptian game room, whose aim is to bring about a playful
understanding of the different themes. Finally, there is the bookshop/merchandising area.
Draft Floor Plan / Modular Build-up

1) Entry

2) Crossing the Nile

3) Room of the setting sun

4) Life and Times of Thutmosis III


5) Burial of a Pharaoh

6) Hathor, our guide, becomes visible

5 8

7) Entering the World of the Deities

8) The 1st Hour of the Amduat

9) The 12 Hours of the Amduat 2

4 6
10) Deepening the Knowlege 3

11) Antechamber 1 12
12) Burial chamber of Thutmosis III
13) The 12th Hour of the Amduat

14) Room of the rising sun 16

15) The greening of the Nile banks, rebirth

16) Exit

17) Ancient Egyptian game room & Bookshop / Merchandising area

Review and Rationale
The exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" satis-
fies a great thirst in modern man for a better understanding of the
fascinating mysteries of ancient Egypt.

This is achieved by displaying the burial-chamber of the Tomb of Thutmosis III in its original size
and providing the visitor with an understanding of the amazing story of one of the greatest
Pharaohs and his preparation for the afterlife.

With “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" the visitor will start to reflect on
the meaning and the aims of our human existence and find important clues to questions that are
relevant both for the individual and for society as a whole. Thus the visitor will leave the
exhibition with a feeling of having learned, in an entertaining way, something about his own
roots and our common humanity. A unique experience is created by the coming together of
ancient Egyptian philosophy/theology, a highly entertaining story line and, very importantly, a
marvellous collection of actual artefacts on loan from the Ministry of Culture and the Supreme
Council of Antiquities in Egypt.

By making the value and importance of Pharaonic culture visible, we make it clear that we have
to protect this unique cultural heritage for future generations. “Quest for Immortality – The
Hidden Treasures of Egypt" will thus become a moving plea for active support of Egypt in its
endeavours to preserve its royal tombs.

This exhibition will also make visitors interested in visiting or revisiting Egypt to see the wonders
of this ancient country with their own eyes.

The Development
of the Exhibition
With the aim of making the values of Pharaonic culture accessible to a wider
public, the exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" has
been conceived and developed by the international SOCIETY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE ROYAL TOMBS
OF EGYPT (Switzerland), together with UNITED EXHIBITS GROUP (Denmark).

The exhibition is organized by United Exhibits Group and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

To ensure the highest standards of this unique experience, a Scientific Planning Committee has
been formed, comprising four members:

* DR. ERIK HORNUNG, Committee Chairman, Professor Emeritus for Egyptology, University of Basle,
SWITZERLAND, former Vice-President of the International Association of Egyptologists,

* DR. FAYZA HAIKAL, Professor for Egyptology, American University in Cairo, EGYPT, former President
of the International Association of Egyptologists,

* DR. THEODOR ABT, Jungian Psychologist and Professor, Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich,
SWITZERLAND, President of the Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs of Egypt,

* DR. TEIT RITZAU, medical doctor, President of United Exhibits Group, DENMARK and coordinator of
the Scientific Planning Group.

In addition to these scientists, a larger EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE assists in supervising the accuracy
and authenticity of the exhibition:

DR. ZAHI HAWASS, Professor of Egyptology, Director of Pyramid-Area, Cairo, EGYPT

Dr. MOHAMMED SALEH, Former Director of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, EGYPT

Dr. MAMDOUH EL-DAMATI, Director of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, EGYPT

DR. SABRI ABD EL-AZIZ, Director General of Luxor antiquities, Luxor, EGYPT

DR MOHAMMED NASR, Director of Luxor Museum, Luxor, EGYPT

DR. MOHAMMED BIALLY, Director General of Western Thebes, Luxor, EGYPT

IBRAHIM SOLIMAN, Inspector of Antiquities, Valley of the Kings, EGYPT

DR. JAN ASSMANN, Professor of Egyptology, University of Heidelberg, GERMANY

DR. JOHN DARNELL, Professor of Egyptology, Yale University, USA

DR GÜNTER DREYER, Director of the German Institute of Archeology, Cairo, EGYPT


TORBEN HOLM-RASMUSSEN, MA., President of The Danish Egyptological Society

DR. CHRISTIAN LEBLANC, President of the Association for the Preservation of the Ramesseum, Cairo,

DR. ANTONIO LOPRIENO, Professor of Egyptology, University of Basle, SWITZERLAND


DR. GABALLA ALI GABALLA, Professor of Egyptology, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of
Antiquities, Cairo, EGYPT

Selected international institutions presenting the exhibition will have the option of adding an
institutional representative to the Scientific Committee/Consulting Group.

Experience and Expertise
of the Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs and of
United Exhibits
The “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" exhibition project will
be produced by the Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs of Egypt and United
Exhibits Group, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs of Egypt
Their contribution is within the framework of the Scientific Planning Group and can count on the
support of the world's leading scientists. Over a period of more than ten years, the Society has acquired
broad experience in the field of the Royal Tombs of Egypt and is thus able to make a
valuable contribution to this exhibtion, particularly with regard to the translation and the
understanding of the texts of the so-called “Books of the Netherworld", which make up a large part of the
decoration of the Royal Tombs.
Foundation for the preservation of the Royal Tombs of Egypt
In order to support Egypt in its efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of its Royal Tombs an
International Foundation for the Preservation of the Royal Tombs has been created. In this way the
Society of the Friends of the Royal Tombs has a legal body to guarantee that part of the profits of this
exhibition will go directly to the restoration and presevation of the royal tombs of Egypt. The president
of the foundation is Dr. Andreas Flury, Zurich, Switzerland.
The Scientific Planning Group:
Within the Society it was possible to form the Scientific Planning Group, which is able to ensure the accu-
racy of the contents of the exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt".

The core of the exhibition will be the facsimile of the burial-chamber of Pharaoh Thutmosis III and its
amazing and beautifully painted Amduat. The text of this book of the Netherworld was first
edited and translated by Prof. Erik Hornung in 1963. A newly revised translation by Prof. Erik Hornung and
a psychological commentary by Prof. Theodor Abt will be published on the occasion of this exhibition.

The special interest of Prof. Fayza Haikal lies in the field of religion and the Egyptians’ approach to their own
culture. She is convinced that true appreciation of Egyptian culture will only come about through the
collaboration of Egyptian and non-Egyptian researchers who will complement each other’s points of view.

Dr. Teit Ritzau is a medical doctor and director of the United Exhibits Group. He has organized exhibitions
for the past 10 years. At the moment “MISSING LINKS ALIVE",– an exhibition about the evolution of the
human species- is touring on four continents and the exhibition project “DAWN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT"
which is concerned with the question "What makes us human, is produced" by UNESCO in cooperation with
14 of the world's leading museums. The basic idea of these exhibitions is to gather together the best
scientific minds in the world for each project.”Quest for Immortality" presents the essential subject matter
as well as the philosophical and cultural background of our civilization today. Together with
“MISSING LINKS ALIVE" and “DAWN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT", it forms a unique exhibition trilogy.
The United Exhibits Group
This group has considerable experience in developing large multi-media exhibitions. It has established itself
over the last ten years as Europe's largest and most successful, privately-owned museum exhibition
developer and producer. It has produced a number of successful cultural history and art-related exhibitions.
United Exhibits' large international network ensures that the highest standards are maintained.

All scientific exhibitions are developed in cooperation with leading researchers. They are presented as
educational, but nonetheless entertaining and interactive experiences; they include original objects and
other original material that will appeal to a large family audience, while contributing to people's
education through entertainment.

UNITED EXHIBITS GROUP A/S has the necessary know-how to supervise the development of major
projects, such as "Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt". It is constantly striving to be
a flexible organization, able to adjust and adapt, so that it can satisfy both present and future project
/exhibition requirements.

The National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is one of the world's preeminent museums. It has
organized and/or been associated with 800 exhibitions since its founding in 1941. These range
from focus exhibitions to major international shows of hundreds of objects from nearly all geo-
graphic regions of the world going as far back as ancient times. The Gallery is fully staffed with
top experts in all areas of exhibition organization, design, conservation, packing, transportation,
installation, publications, film production, security, fundraising, visitor services, Web site, imaging,
audio visual services, public relations, and marketing. In addition to staff curators, the Gallery
draws on the expertise of major art scholars and historians from throughout the world.

The Concept - An Overview
The exhibition occupies aprox. 1000 m2/10,000 square feet, and can be presented in a
single major hall or in several connecting rooms. The design is quite flexible as long
as the necessary flow can be created and the tomb itself can be erected in a single
room. Floor plans for the individual museum halls on the tour will be produced sep-
arately. The general requirements as regards climate control, security, lighting, han-
dling of the original objects are all described in a separate document.

Gold mask from Tanis.(object

included in the exhibit.)

The visitor’s experience

At the heart of the exhibition is the rebuilding of the won-
derful and artistically fascinating burial chamber of the
tomb of the great Pharaoh Thutmosis III. Before entering
the burial chamber, the visitor is asked to take part in a
quest – a quest for insight into the ancient Egyptian concept
of immortality, but also for the hidden treasures of Egypt.
The visitor enters the exhibition, surrounded by pictures of
modern Egypt and then steps back in time as they move
twards the image of the setting sun as a symbol of the pass-
ing of the dead. The sun going down is indeed a symbol of the passing of the dead, but we all know that it
will rise again in the morning. The question is: Where does the sun go? What is the secret of its ability to
renew itself? If we could accompany the sun we might discover the secret of how nature renews light. This
is the basic idea dealt with in the AMDUAT or the book of the "Hidden Chamber". We will thus accompany
the Sun God in his nocturnal journey through the Nether world seen on the river Nile on this journey.

The magnificent and unique artefacts from the Cairo and Luxor museums – the first being
presented at the entry scene, but they feature all the way through the exhibition – make the
project come alive. Walking into the burial chamber, the visitor gets an insight into how a
Pharaoh becomes immortal – both spiritually and physically. From there, the visitor is led into the
inner temple and is greeted by the magnificent statue of Hathor from the Luxor museum. This
goddess is, together with the other deities, introducing the 1st hour of the Amduat. After an excit-
ing interaction between the original objects and the first hour, the visitor is led into the next
room, where the 12 hours are explained in more detail, supported by original papyrae found in the
tombs. Then finally, entering through the antechamber, the visitor reaches the reconstruction of
the burial chamber. Hathor is the goddess that both welcomes into the Nether world, as well as
acts as our guide in the exhibition, where her voice will accompany us on our journey through the
exhibition and has done so from the beginning. There will also be a chance to go into an area ded-
icated to providing additional information by touch screen computers, advanced interactive sta-
tions, etc.

As we leave the burial chamber, we enter into a passageway of the 12th hour prominently glowing
on a wall, which leads us toward a sunrise, images surround the visitor on all sides. Leaving the
exhibition surrounded by impressions of nature and rejuvination, the visitor sails back to Modern
Egypt. He may then enter into the ancient Egyptian game room and bookstore area.

The combination of the storyline, the presentation of modern and ancient Egypt
through various media, and a selection of magnificent and very rare artefacts will provi-
de the visitor a unique and different experience of ancient Egypt – a new generation of
Egypt exhibitions. The close cooperation between the Supreme Council of Antiquities,
and the Scientific Committee under the leadership of Dr. Erik Hornung, as well as the lea-
ding curators of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, have made this concept possible.

Advanced Interactive Stations

Possible treatments of the relevant themes in the interactive stations:

Theme 1. Egyptian gods and the journey through the Netherworld. The visitor finds his
way through the Netherworld with the help of the knowledge of the Amduat
and the assisting goddess Hathor.

Theme 2. The visitor follows the historic life of Thutmosis III and reports on the
amazing events of this great Pharaoh´s life, both as a king and a
commander of great armies.

Theme 3. The numerous gods are matched with their personal characteristics
by the visitor.


The newest and latest cutting edge technology
within the interactive exhibit world is interactive touch
screen computer stations. This technology allows the
visitor to “re-experience” some of the information they
have just received, through interactive learning games.
This technology has been developed by the same group
that created similar interactives at Newseum in
Washington DC.

Ancient Egyptian Game Room
Here the visitors are informed and can learn about the old techniques of painting with
mineral-colours on stone, papyrus-painting, working with alabaster-stone, how mummification
is done, etc.

There exist various possibilities for a playful understanding of the Sun going through the
Netherworld, similar to the Egyptian Senet-game (found also in the tomb of Tutankhamun). This
will be developed for the exhibit.

Possible themes:
Test your knowledge of ancient Egyptian symbols.
Touch and use Egyptian tools and musical instruments.
Learn the techniques of mummification.
Learn how to paint as it was done 3500
year ago. Paint a favorite goddess or God.

Simple stations:
Questions and multiple choice answers.
Complex stations related to the exhibi-
tion, testing what the public has learned
from the exhibit experience.

Senet Game.(object included in the exhibit.)

The scientific information

There are several levels in the information flow of the exhibition:

A Vocal information
B Main headlines as backlit panels
C Touch screen computers. With modern technology it is possible to produce video images etc.
and integrate software to promote interactivity within the exhibit.
D Scientific panels
E Catalogue text
F School material

Original Objects
A selection of unique and never shown original artefacts is going to
be presented in the exhibit. The selection has been chosen by the
Scientific Committee under the leadership of Dr. Erik Hornung, The
Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, and and leading curators
from the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Upper part of an obelisk at Tanis Site.(Object included in the exhibit.)

Project Description
The merging of new technologies with refined craftsmanship and
restoration work
The technological aim of the “Quest for Immortality” is to provide visitors with an entirely
new experience, both as regards acquiring new knowledge and travelling back in time for the purposes of being
entertained and taught something new, in a manner that is suitable for
adults and adolescents alike.
To fulfil these objectives and at the same time be able to combine
the exhibition experience with unique artefacts from ancient Egypt,
it is necessary to set ourselves very high quality standards during the
design and construction process.

Furthermore it is necessary to merge new and old technologies in

innovative ways.

This framework is combined with the reconstruction of the tomb of

Thutmosis III and the display of a number of magnificent ancient
Egyptian artefacts that provide the correct setting for the tomb. In
order to give the general feeling of being in Egypt and being able to
experience the Egyptian atmosphere. The involvement of renown
painters and restorers will make the realisation of the exhibition
possible, as well.

This exhibition will appeal in different ways to a very wide range of visitors, from lay people to specialized
researchers wanting information about the latest developments within the field.

Concept and Exhibition Design
The design concept behind “Quest for Immortality” is that the visitor at all times
will be surrounded by engaging and dynamic experiences.

The key to the experiencing "Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" is to bring
visitors into a new world – to immerse the visitor in the subject matter, both in terms of an
intellectual experience as well as a journey back in time that will engage, educate and entertain.

To reach these goals, we will enhance the visual experiences with original
objects from ancient Egypt. These will be combined with a high-quality
reconstruction of the tomb of Thutmosis III and of several ancient Egyptian
artefacts. The results of scientific studies show that the way to enable the
increasing number of tourists to view contents of the royal tombs in Egypt is
to build facsimiles. In order to give the general feeling of being in Egypt and to experience the
Egyptian atmosphere, highly experienced artisans from the museum world will recreate the tomb
using original techniques, materials and colours.

We will create an inviting atmosphere to facilitate the transfer of in-depth information

(the message) and at the same time create an exciting and enduring fascination with the topic.

The design and development of "Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt" addresses
the importance of flow control which ensures that the visitors, at a given place within a given time
frame receive the same information.

Every effort will be made to reconstruct the tomb so that it has every appearance of being the
actual tomb – a unique chance for the vistor to experience a tomb. Highly experienced artisans
from the museum world will recreate the tomb using original techniques, materials and colours, so
as to create the sombre and mysterious environment that visitors will find as memorable as a
visit to the Valley of
the Kings. Texture,
light, and sound will be
used to enhance the
visit, while the enclo-
sure will even convey
the slight sense of
claustrophobia one
feels in a deep tunnel.

International Perspectives
The “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt” exhibition is unique
in an international perspective:

The general public’s interest in this topic is long established worldwide.

The development and production of this large exhibition project has only been made possible
with large-scale cooperation between the Supreme Council of Antiquities, United Exhibits
Group, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. In addition the project is endorsed by

The long-term aim of the project is not only to create a unique exhibiion experience for the
visitors, but also to show aspects of the Pharaonic culture that relate to our modern civilization
in a truly international and global context.

Finally, by the international presentation of the project, awareness as well as funds will be
made available to preserve this truly unique cultural heritage that in more than one sense is
the building block of our modern civilization and culture, and it is a tragedy that it is rapidly
being destroyed, and threatened by the increase of visitors.

Damaged picture of the
goddess of the tree on a
pollar in the burial chamber
of Thutmosis III.
(Picture recorded in year 2000)

Goddess of the tree on a pillar

in the burial chamber of
Thutmosis III. She gives her
breast to the Pharaoh and the
hieroglyphs tell us his throne
name, Menkheperé, as well as
the note "he is nursed (by) his
mother Isis".
(Picture recorded in year 1978)

One only protects what one recognizes as precious. The royal tombs of Egypt are
increasingly threatened by the great number of visitors. The Society of the
Friends of the Royal Tombs of Egypt, in cooperation with United Exhibits Group,
have created the exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of
Egypt.” This is done in order to focus worldwide attention and awareness on the value of the royal
tombs of Egypt through the use of a new, surprising and inspiring exhibition that marries
education about Pharaonic Egypt with the most advanced ways of entertainment.

The exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt” will, for the first time, be
a very accessible presentation of the meaning of the long Egyptian tradition of caring for the
afterlife. The visitor will learn that already 3500 years ago we find basic reflections on the
possibility of a spiritual development of humans – an aspiration that was later further
developed by all the great religions. Thus with this exhibition an awareness of our common
religious and philosophical roots is increased. The visitor will will acquire knowledge and insight
of personal significance as well as answers to questions concerning our common future.

This comprehensive exhibition with all its elements, from the reconstructed tomb of Thutmosis III
to the depiction of the 12 hours of the Amduat, and the amazing selection of rare original objects
from ancient Egypt, becomes a guided tour through a unique world.

The final aim of the exhibition “Quest for Immortality – The Hidden Treasures of Egypt” is
to contribute to Egypt’s attempt to preserve its royal tombs that have been classified by
UNESCO as world heritage.

United Exhibits Group
Sundkrogsgade 30
DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel.: (+45) 70 23 55 55
Fax: (+45) 70 23 55 54

The exhibition is organized by United Exhibits Group and the National Gallery of Art, Washington