A Blast to the Past: Egyptian Mini-Museum

Jackson Hart '21, Staff Writer

This Monday marked the end of the Egyptian Mini-Museum, an exhibit that featured pieces designed by students in Ms. Abbott’s and Mr. Powell’s ninth-grade Foundations of World History classes. The display comprised three key features: the students’ artwork, a short description of their pieces, and a QR-linked image of their original artifact.

The students had many resources at their disposal, starting with their lessons on Ancient Egypt. Ms. Abbott explained that the students were encouraged to select a piece of artwork based on a theme that appealed to them, whether it be “magic, or animals, or powerful women.” After finding a topic that spoke to them, they were tasked with finding three pieces that related to said theme.

To find their pieces, the students turned to a website called SketchFab that houses 3-D printable files from sources across the world. For their project, they were able to access several Egyptian artifacts on file from the British Museum, whose halls hold the most extensive collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt. To be able to print their selected pieces, students were granted access to the designLab’s 3-D printer as part of a collaboration, noted Ms. Abbott, “between [the History Department], the academic technologists, and the designLab.”

The multidisciplinary nature of the project, noted Mr. Powell, “[enhanced] the learning process. The use of 3D printing and exhibit design helped the students to work in small groups and enjoy the process.” 

This aspect of the project, in part, was the inspiration behind its genesis in the first place. As Mr. Powell noted, “[Ms. Abbott and I] wanted to make sure students enjoyed the learning process through projects and collaboration.” A change of pace helped to build upon the students’ lessons on Ancient Egypt, as they were encouraged to pursue aspects of Egyptian history that appealed to them.

While the teachers were inspired to engage their students through hands-on activities, the exhibit also builds upon Mr. Powell’s past experience working in museums. Before coming to St. Luke’s, he worked as the Historian and Curator at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. He also worked at the Banneker Douglass Museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, as the Director of Exhibitions. As Ms. Abbott remarked, “[Mr. Powell] really leveraged his expertise [as a museum curator].”

While the exhibit left early this week, both Mr. Powell and Ms. Abbott hope that the community had a chance to stop by and admire the fruits of their students’ hard labor. “The 9th graders [hoped] that visitors of the space will learn more about the culture of Ancient Egypt through the crafting of their exhibit,” remarked Mr. Powell. Ms. Abbott agreed, noting that she hoped visitors “[got] a glimpse into one aspect of Egyptian life.”