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Opens 15 December 2023


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Explore daily life along the Nile

Top part of a coffin shaped in female form, with facial details painted on and various hieroglyphics painted on the chest and shoulders. - click to view larger image
Outer Coffin of Panesy, about 943–746 BCE

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of ancient Egypt in this must-see exhibition coming to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Discovering Ancient Egypt is a new exhibition from the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities that presents more than 200 fascinating objects spanning over 3,000 years of civilisation.

See intricately decorated coffins, extracts from the Book of the Dead, stunning art, jewellery and sculptures alongside everyday artefacts including household pottery, objects for worship and an ancient board game.

Discovering Ancient Egypt explores religious beliefs, daily life along the Nile and the intriguing journey to the eternal afterlife.

Visitors can step through a life-sized temple re-creation, see depictions of gods including Isis and Horus and try hands-on activities as we explore Australia's fascination with this ancient world.


Pectoral, about 1539–1077 BCE

Family stella of Huy, about 1539–1077 BCE

Offering stela of Khu and his family, about 1878–1843 BCE

Model boat, about 2080–1940 BCE

Shabti of Nespaneferher, about 1076–944 BCE

History of discovery

The exhibition focuses on the history of discovery, inviting visitors to consider the role of museums in working with Egyptian communities to document and present ancient cultures.

Key moments like the unearthing of the Rosetta Stone during Napoleon’s military campaign to Egypt and the discovery of the tomb of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun are explored alongside the Dutch museum’s archaeological discoveries over decades, including at the ancient burial grounds of Saqqara.

Discovering Ancient Egypt is on show at the National Museum of Australia from 15 December 2023 to 8 September 2024.

The exhibition includes the display of human and animal remains. There are five mummified individuals, displayed in a separate room, including the woman Ta(net)kharu or Tadis, the young girl Sensaos, the man Harerem, an unknown male and an unknown female.

While these remains are in the Museum’s care, we take our custodial responsibilities very seriously. Consultations with First Nations groups and Egyptian–Australian communities will ensure the respectful custodianship and display of these remains.

We approach this issue with a clear understanding of the responsibility and trust invested in us. The existence of these remains prompts us all to think about profound questions relating to life and death, as well as changing funerary rites and practices, in the past, present and future.

We hope the exhibition prompts visitors to reflect on these same big questions.


The Australian tour of the exhibition is a partnership between the National Museum of Australia, the Western Australian Museum, and the Queensland Museum Network.

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The Discovering Ancient Egypt exhibition is supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program.

This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.

Read the media release

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