No event of recent times has so fired the public imagination as the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and storehouse in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes Ernest Wunderlich, 1923 (Australian Museum Trustee)

Egyptomania was widespread in the nineteenth century - the majority of the Australian Museum's Ancient Egyptian Collection was acquired between the 1880s to 1930s. Objects were acquired predominately through Trustee Ernest Wunderlich, the Egyptian Exploration Fund, donors, and other contributors. With the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb, people around the world were once again excited and curious about all things Egypt.

Australian Museum Archives

To celebrate the upcoming Ramses & The Gold of The Pharaohs Exhibition, our Photographic Archives team have uncovered lantern slides from a 1925 Ancient Egypt Lecture Series delivered by Museum Ethnologist, William Walford Thorpe. The lantern slides were made by G. C. Clutton from publication photographs and even included 'Yellow coffin from Akhmim' (E19466), a Museum object currently on display in the Westpac Long Gallery. Below we have a lantern slide and glass plate negative of the Akhmim mummy.

What is a lantern slide?

A lantern slide is a positive transparency sandwiched between two pieces of glass and held together with paper tape. Lantern slides were made to be shown using lantern slide projectors for entertainment or educational lectures. Most of the lantern slides in the Ancient Egyptian Series are black and white, although some were coloured by Lilian Medland (found listed under the name 'Mrs T Iredale' in our Register of Lantern Slides).

1925 Ancient Egyptian Lecture Series

Lectures at the Australian Museum

Lectures at the Australian Museum began with popular themed gallery demonstrations predominately delivered to Public School teachers and students in the Museum. In 1905, the Trustees noticed the importance of equipping the Museum with a lecture theatre. The demonstrations “proved so attractive and were so well patronised, that when additions were made to the building in 1910 a lecture theatre was provided.”

World Cultures Collection: Egypt in Australia

The World Cultures Collection features 1130 Ancient Egyptian objects. Don’t miss the opportunity to see a selection currently on display on Level 3! The display includes rare books from our Research Library. You can also see further objects in our Westpac Long Gallery! To find out more, see Ancient Egyptian Collection.