The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC Exhibition Extended at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has announced that it will extend the dates of its popular exhibition, The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC, through June 27. Featured are masterworks from an Egyptian tomb of the Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 BC) uncovered in Deir el-Bersha, a necropolis in central Egypt, including a finely painted coffin with magical spells, a mummified head, and objects thought necessary for the afterlife. This find represents the largest Middle Kingdom burial assemblage ever discovered and sheds light on the grand lifestyle enjoyed by local governor and priest Djehutynakht and his wife, Lady Djehutynakht, for whom the tomb was built. The exhibition is supported by Bank of America. Major funding is provided by The Calderwood Charitable Foundation. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

To date, nearly 175,000 visitors have attended this exhibition. Included in this figure are 16,523 people who saw The Secrets of Tomb 10A for free during the MFA’s Community Days on Veterans Day, New Year’s Eve, and MLK Jr. Day. Additional Free Community Days are scheduled for April 26 during the MFA’s festival of flowers, Art in Bloom, and Memorial Day.

The attendance figure also includes a record number of school group visitors—14,110—comprising those who have seen the exhibition in addition to those who have reserved upcoming group visits. This surpasses attendance by school groups for the MFA’s Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen (late 1999/2000), the second most attended Gund exhibition for school groups (12,846). The all-time record of 17,511 school group visitors was set by Monet in the Twentieth Century (1998).

In addition to April 26 and Memorial Day, families also are invited to visit The Secrets of Tomb 10A during the MFA’s Cogan Family Foundation Vacation Week Adventures April 20–23 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Parents and children can explore the ancient world and its mysteries during school vacation week with a wide range of fun, hands-on activities, such as a guided tour through a tomb, participation in an interactive performance, storytelling, and opportunities to create works of art inspired by ancient objects throughout the Museum. Vacation week activities are FREE with Museum admission. No registration is required, all ages and abilities are welcome, and children should always be accompanied by an adult. ASL Interpretation will be provided on Wednesday, April 21.

The Secrets of Tomb 10A highlights more than 250 objects, many of which have never before been on view, ranging from the famous “Bersha coffin”—a masterpiece of Egyptian painting—to the mummified head of either the governor or his wife. These were discovered by members of a joint Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition in 1915. Also included in the find are hundreds of items for a comfortable afterlife in ancient Egypt, such as vessels for food and drink, furniture, jewelry, and walking sticks. The exhibition also showcases the largest known collection of wooden models from the Middle Kingdom representing, in miniature form, a variety of activities and items that would have been found on the couple’s estate. The conservation and reconstruction of many of the items—damaged by grave robbers in antiquity—have taken almost a century to complete. For the first time since they were placed in the tomb, the assemblage is displayed in its entirety in this special exhibition in the Museum’s Gund Gallery. An engaging audio guide for adults and one designed specifically for children are both available, and a catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 450,000 objects. The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.

Admission (which includes two visits in a 10-day period) is $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission for students who are University Members is free, as is admission for youths 17 years of age and younger (during non-school hours). On school days until 3 p.m., admission for youths 7–17 is $7.50. No admission fee is required (after 4 p.m.) on Wednesdays, although voluntary donations are welcome. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For general visitor information, visit the MFA website at mfa.org or call 617.267.9300.

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