Posts Tagged 'Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt'

Friday Photos: Canines vs Felines

Since the arrival of Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, the DMA has been serving some serious cat-titude. We’ve spent the past few months celebrating these awesome animal companions in several different ways: families could enjoy our Friendly Felines family guide while others could really get into the spirit of the exhibition with the Divine Felines Spotify playlist.

However, as a dog person, I think man’s best friend could use a little more attention. Here are a few of our dearest dogs matched against some of our favorite felines from the collection. Which would you prefer?

Make sure you visit Divine Felines before the exhibition closes this Sunday, January 8!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs

Memory, All Alone in the Moonlight

Some furry friends invaded the DMA back in October and set up residence for three whole months in the Museum. They told visitors from far and wide stories of ancient Egypt where they were revered as powerful deities. They also educated them on some very important practices like mummification . . . GASP. Just look at all the fun that was had!

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It’s not too late for you too to experience the PAWsitively PURRfect exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, but it will be soon. After January 8, Divine Felines will only be a “memory, all alone in the moonlight”.  So scurry your tails down to the Museum to check out the exhibition that everyone has been meowing over!

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 

 

Sensory Sensation

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At the DMA, you can currently visit Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, featuring works from the extensive holdings of the Brooklyn Museum. The appeal of an exhibition about both cats and ancient Egypt seemed like the perfect opportunity for the DMA to experiment with a multisensory interpretive space within an exhibition setting, essentially creating a satellite, smaller-scale Center for Creative Connections (C3). While C3 is an experimental space focused on innovative and diverse ways of interpreting a selection of DMA artworks, the Divine Felines Creative Connections Gallery is intended to contextualize the exhibition through a variety of interpretive interactives. In this space, visitors can step up to a listening station and hear tales of the Egyptian deities, sniff incenses that would have filled ancient temples, or see a real mummy and watch a film about mummification.

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This diagram shows the layout of the 1,600 square feet of gallery space at the back of the Divine Felines exhibition.

This educational gallery also provides DMA staff with insight into our visitors’ interests and preferences. The more we know about our visitors’ expectations and interests, the more equipped we are to provide them with meaningful gallery interactives. First, we keep track of the number of visitors who enter the Divine Felines Creative Connections Gallery and compare it to the total number of visitors to the exhibition. In October, nearly 70% of visitors to the exhibition entered the Creative Connections Gallery. And, interestingly, Thursdays saw the highest percentage of visitors entering the space.

Additionally, three days a week for two hours at a time, we observe visitors in the gallery to determine which activities they interact with and how long they engage within the space. To structure our observations, we created a tracking sheet (see image above) where we note participation in specific activities and the total duration of their visit to the space. Our system of tracking notes depth of engagement within an activity. For example, in relation to the short film about mummification we are curious to know if the visitor:

  • Reads the label outside of the film room.
  • Enters the film room.
  • Sits down on the bench.
  • Watches the whole film.

Finally, we ask half of the visitors we observe if they are willing to take a quick survey on an iPad. The questions we ask relate to visitors’ motivations for entering the educational space and what components visitors would like to see in future educational spaces.

So far, we’ve noticed a few interesting trends. In October, for example, the majority of observed visitors spent time looking at the mummy or Thoth sculpture and visited the scent bar. Here is the breakdown of how many visitors participated in each activity in October.
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Other data points to date:

  • Visitors spent an average of 10 minutes in the space.
  • Over 70% of visitors entered the gallery with a group; 30% were alone.
  • On average, visitors smelled 8 out of the 10 fragrances at the scent bar.
  • On average, visitors listened to 2 out of the 5 stories at the listening station.
  • Slightly more visitors picked up the all-ages self-guide than the family guide.
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*Note: Visitors were able to choose more than one response.

We would love your feedback, too. What educational tools would you like to see at the DMA?

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA. Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA.

On the Bookshelves: CATchy Tales Edition

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This month I’ve been spending a lot of time in Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt with preschoolers. Ancient Egypt is always endlessly fascinating for young children, but add in cats and picture books, and you’ve got a triple threat! I’ve gathered up some purrrfect picture books for any kid cat-lovers—two of the stories take place in ancient Egypt and two are catchy tales you won’t want to miss.

 

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, illustrated by Lisa Brown

With a rustle and a whisper, a little mummy cat wakes up deep in a pyramid and goes in search of his mistress and friend, Queen Hat-Shup-Set. As he journeys through the corridors, paintings on the wall tell the tale of his past life and the tragic fate of his Queen. Brown’s illustrations paint a story-within-a-story, and young readers will love pouring over each little detail and will beg to read this book again and again. Look for three little mice hiding on many of the pages and search for hieroglyphs sprinkled throughout the illustrations. An author’s note on mummies, hieroglyphs, and Queen Hat-Shup-Set make this book an excellent introduction to ancient Egypt. And if you visit Divine Felines, you can see an authentic cat sarcophagus!

 

Temple Cat by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Kate Kiesler

A cat lives like a king in the temple, with servants to care for his every need, but all he dreams of is a life beyond the temple walls. So one night, he quietly slips out and embarks on an adventure, sleeping in barns, catching his own food, and making friends with some children. Along the way, he discovers his greatest dream—to be loved as an ordinary cat. Cat-lovers will especially love how Kiesler captures the very “cat-ness” of our hero as he licks his paws, revels in chin tickles, or weaves around a child’s leg. The background illustrations however, are just as beautiful, painting a vivid picture of what ancient Egyptian life might have been like.

 

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

“The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…” With this lyrical beginning, Wenzel takes readers on a journey of perspective, imagining different encounters between a cat and its surroundings. With each page turn, we see the cat from a different point of view. A child sees a cuddly, friendly companion. A dog and fox see something to chase. A fish and a mouse see a huge, scary creature to be avoided at all costs! A flea sees a warm place to take a nap. The text itself is incredibly simple, but the illustrations take on a life of their own, challenging young readers to consider how one animal (or by extension, person) can be so many different things. And for art-loving kids, the way Wenzel changes his style to fit each creature’s perspective is truly magical. They All Saw a Cat is already getting some buzz for the coming picture book awards season!

 

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger is tired of his prim and proper life, and decides something needs to change. HE needs to change! And so he goes “wild.” But does he go just a little too far? I’ve written about this book before here, and it still continues to be a go-to favorite for story time. One page turn in particular ALWAYS elicits shrieks of laughter and gasps, and I can’t help but love it when the children roar right along with Mr. Tiger.

 

What’s your favorite meow-sterpiece in cat picture books? Please share in the comments below!

And as always—happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Friday Photos: Egypt’s Youngest Queens!

During our recent Divine Felines themed Arturo’s Art and Me Family Workshop, some of the participants pretended to be the ancient queens we learned about. Here they are in all their regalia!

The royal kiddos learned about how the Ancient Egyptians loved their cats so much that they gave them fancy jewelry to wear and turned them into mummies once they passed away. They then made their own bejeweled cat sculptures out of Model Magic and a personalized sarcophagus for them. Here are some of the finished kitties!

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Our next Arturo’s Art and Me Workshops take place on December 7, 8, and 10th. Click here for more info!

Grace Diepenbrock
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Friday Photos: Feline Good at the DMA

It’s been almost a month since Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt opened here at the DMA and it’s been purrfectly amazing how much our visitors have enjoyed the exhibition. In addition to over eighty ancient objects, the exhibition also features an educational space which offers interactive learning opportunities.

At the sound wall, you can listen to stories of deities in Ancient Egyptian mythology, courtesy of our favorite storyteller Ann Marie Newman.

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The goddess Bastet, whose head is cat-shaped.

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Images (left to right): Cat’s Head, Egypt, Roman Period, 30 B.C.E.–3rd century C.E., bronze and gold, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114; Sphinx of King Sheshenq, Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22–Dynasty 23, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586; Standing Lion-Headed Goddess, Egypt, Late Period or later, 664–30 B.C.E., faience, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.943E

You can also smell the perfumes, oils and incense that played an important role in Ancient Egyptian daily life and the afterlife. Experience the scents a Pharaoh might have encountered in an ancient temple, or those the embalmer might have smelled while preparing a mummy for the afterlife.

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Reading Area and Scent Bar

You can also find a selection of objects in this area that are part of the Museum’s own collection, so be sure to hunt down the felines we have present all across the Museum!

A selection of these works can be found in our Cats Across the Collection self-guided tour and our Feline Friendly Family Guide. And don’t forget to check out all the upcoming exhibition programs here. We’re not kitten around when we say a visit to the Museum is the purrfect fall activity for all our cat-lovers out there!

Marta Torres
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Linear Perspectives: Creative Discovery with Lines

Some great new additions to the Center for Creative Connections have sparked new ways for visitors to think about and interact with artworks. In the Young Learners Gallery, the newly redesigned space has concentrated our visitors’ focus on lines. Visitors use the pegboards to create symbols, images, words, and phrases that are outlined by stretchy fabric pieces. We’ve been snapping some shots of our favorites we’ve seen so far:

Visit the Young Learners Gallery in the Center for Creative Connections and discover how you can use lines creatively!

Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Coordinator at the DMA.


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