The Maidstone Museum youth group, CUR8, is playing an integral role in the interpretation of the new gallery, conducting extensive research into life during Ta-Kush’s era – the 25th Dynasty. In addition, support from sponsors is invaluable to the successful redesign and restructure of the gallery, and a recent fundraising event provided the chance for attendees to learn more about the ongoing work of both the museum and CUR8.
It was a temperate night in November, with a hint of the winter to come. Maidstone Museum was aglow with activity as the fundraising event began at around about 6:30pm. There was a gathering near the library, not unlike a formal cocktail reception, and there was a selection of canapés to choose from (we were recommended to sample the raspberry cheesecake in particular).
Shortly after, Mark Barker, chair of the Maidstone Museum Foundation (MMF) gave a welcoming speech at the bottom of the grand staircase and soon after everyone filed into the library to be presented with more fascinating information.
Public Programming Manager Lyn Palmer gave an introduction to the invited audience about the plan for the evening and what the proposed goals of the Ancient Civilisations Gallery project, before seamlessly handing over to Julian Richards, former presenter on BBC Two’s Meet the Ancestors. He explained why he was in attendance and discussed some of his previous fieldwork in media and education. Of particular note was the holding up a 3D printed version of Stonehenge which glowed in the dark!
We next left the library and made our way to the chapel where Ta- Kush, the main attraction of the evening, awaited. Despite being a relatively small space, there was just enough room to fit everybody in. Once settled, Collections Manager Samantha Harris began her presentation on the thrilling discoveries made by Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS Hospital), including the shocking news that a mummy previously thought to be that of a falcon was actually a miscarried baby.
This revelation changes perspectives on how Ancient Egyptians regarded unborn children and, although this happened quite often taking into account the medical conditions of Ancient Egypt, they still went through the dedicated and arduous process of mummification. Sam continued to show us a few scans of the mummies and, after several questions, left the stage to the youth of CUR8.
We began by recounting details of our recent museum visits. The audience listened attentively and laughed at the more enthusiastic lines of Charlotte’s blog entries (whereas I preferred to film on the museum trips!).
The evening concluded by heading back to the hall where animated exchanges stirred, and with the Mayor of Maidstone also in attendance, curious conversations began. At around 8pm, the guests started making their way out and rounded off a convivial – and enlightening – evening.
Kiu Yan Shuen
Fancy becoming a member of the CUR8 team? Our youth group is aimed at 12-24 year-olds and provides the chance to get involved in key projects at Maidstone Museum, as well as experience tours of other museums and much more. To find out more about becoming a member, simply complete and submit an enquiry form below.