The Worcester Art Museum holds a remarkable group of ancient Egyptian jewelry and artifacts that have been hidden from view for 100 years. Curator Peter Lacovara explores WAM’s Jewels of the Nile exhibition.
The magnificence of ancient Egypt comes to brilliant life through jewelry – the most precious and personal of human possessions – in this expansive exhibition at WAM. Timed to open 100 years after the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Worcester Art Museum puts the Museum’s collection of early Egyptian jewelry on view for the first time in a century. Remarkable for both its breadth and quality, this collection was assembled by Kingsmill Marrs (d. 1912) and Laura Norcross Marrs (1845 – 1926) and given to WAM by Mrs. Marrs.
Jewels of the Nile showcases 300 objects, ranging from tiny beads and gems to large sculptures from the Museum’s other Egyptian holdings. Through the singular story of Kingsmill and Laura Marrs and their friendship with British archaeologist Howard Carter, the exhibition also delves into the materials and techniques used in the creation of personal adornments, the evolution of style over the centuries, and the early twentieth-century phenomenon of Egyptomania sparked by archaeological exploration in the region. Interactive components and interpretive programs will allow visitors of all ages to explore and experience themselves this fascinating aspect of ancient Egyptian culture.
--Peter Lacovara is Director of The Ancient Egyptian Archaeology and Heritage Fund. He was Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum from 1998 to 2014 and previously was Assistant Curator in the Department of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is also Visiting Research Scholar at the American University in Cairo. His archaeological fieldwork has included excavations at the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, the Palace city of Amenhotep III at Malqata in Thebes, Abydos, Hierakonpolis and the Giza Plateau.