All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that includes the Australian Museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs. As the largest cultural exhibition to visit Australia in over a decade, it’s almost time for the great king to bid farewell to Australia, with the exhibition closing on Sunday 19 May, 2024. To date, more than 430,000 tickets have been sold, with the museum hoping to hit the 500k milestone before the exhibition wraps up. 

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Historians say Ramses II’s nearly 67-year reign depicted him as not only a formidable warrior but also a fearless leader and astute political strategist when he ascended the throne in his youth. Renowned for his unparalleled architectural prowess, his legacy extends far beyond Egypt’s borders. He was not just a ruler but also a devoted son, husband, and father to approximately 100 offspring. 

When the Australian Museum exhibition launched in November 2023, Dr Mostafa Waziry Minister of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt said, “It is the story of Egypt’s greatest pharaoh and those pharaohs who came before and after him. Why not join us in our discoveries?” Why not, indeed!  

Coffin of Ramses II Australian Museum
The sarcophagus of Ramses II. Credit: James Alcock

5 reasons why you need to visit Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaoh 

1. The exhibit highlights the sarcophagus of Ramses II, a remarkable royal coffin unearthed in ancient Egypt. On special loan from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, this extraordinary artifact seldom ventures beyond Egypt’s borders. Sydney will be just the second city globally, following Paris, to present this immensely precious piece.

Ramses II exhibition Australian Museum
The outer coffin of Sennedjem. Credit: James Alcock

2. Discover the outer coffin of Sennedjem, an ancient Egyptian artisan from Deir el-Medina, found in 1886. He lived during the reigns of Ramses II and Seti I. Sennedjem belonged to a skilled group in the walled village by the Nile at Thebes, crafting tombs in the Valley of the Kings. As a “servant in the Place of Truth,” he aided in royal tomb construction. His tomb overlooked the workers’ settlement. This is the second time this work has been exhibited outside Egypt.

Limestone Colossus Ramses II Australian Museum
The limestone colossus portraying Ramses II. Credit: James Alcock

3. Experience the magnificence of the limestone colossus portraying Ramses II, adorned in the distinguished nemes headdress exclusive to royalty. This statue serves as an enduring testament to the quintessential pharaoh, Ramses II. Notably, this exhibition marks only the second occasion this masterpiece has graced foreign shores beyond Egypt.

Silver Coffin King Shoshenq Australian Museum
The outer silver coffin lid of Shoshenq II. Credit: James Alcock

4. View the outer silver coffin lid of Shoshenq II, along with the four miniature coffins, designed to safeguard the monarch’s internal organs, a departure from the customary use of canopic jars. This is only the second time this work has been exhibited outside Egypt.

Ramses II exhibition gold mask Australian Museum
King Amenemope’s mask. Credit: James Alcock

5. Discover the beauty of King Amenemope’s mask, an integral component of the gilded-wood coffin fashioned in the likeness of the monarch. Standing at 46 centimetres tall, the mask is crafted from layers of gold, meticulously crafted to depict the regal visage of the king. Comprising gold, wood, bronze, carnelian, and lapis lazuli, the mask features the striking uraeus (the royal cobra) affixed to the forehead. Originating from the Third Intermediate Period, it hails from Dynasty 21.

Tickets: From 13 April – 19 May 2024, the Australian Museum has extended opening hours: 9am – 9pm Monday – Sunday. Book your tickets to the Australian Museum’s Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition here before it closes on Sunday 19 May 2024.