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Monday, April 11, 2016

Meet the seventh-grader schooling adults on ancient Egypt | New York Post

Meet the seventh-grader schooling adults on ancient Egypt


Seventh-grader Asher Hurowitz leads informal tours of the Egyptian wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Photo: Annie Wermiel

Asher Hurowitz isn’t just an old soul — he’s an ancient one.

The 13-year-old Upper East Sider has been studying the early Egyptians since he was a toddler.

Now, the seventh-grader at the Speyer Legacy School leads guided tours around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unlike most of his peers, Hurowitz is more interested in pharaohs than iPhones.

“Kids these days . . . are really concentrated on the Internet, and they’re missing the whole world,” he says. “They’re missing history!

Hurowitz’s obsession began at age 3, when a “Little Einsteins” episode inspired the tot to start reading books on ancient Egypt. The next year, his parents took him to Philadelphia to see a traveling exhibit about King Tutankhamun. Before his 10th birthday, Hurowitz was steamrolling through dozens of documentaries on the subject, approaching famed archaeologists as a star-struck fanboy and participating in discussion groups with adults.

His parents, Richard Hurowitz, an investor, and Sharon Hurowitz, an independent art curator, say their son’s study is entirely self-directed, though they’ve supported his passion and helped him source books.

When Asher leads his informal tours, which are approved by the Met and usually for special events, he rattles off the unpronounceable names of pharaohs — Hatshepsut, Akhenaten — as if they’re his classmates. He wipes a bead of sweat off his brow as he gestures at statues and mummies, looking precociously professorial in a cable-knit sweater and collared shirt.

But he occasionally displays a hint of teen attitude.

It’s “overrated,” he says, gesturing at the Temple of Dendur — the crown jewel in the Met’s collection with its striking glass-walled hall. “It was a very small temple by their standards. It was in the Alaska of Egypt! It’s a backwater disgrace. It’s really tiny. Nobody came by that often.”

But, for the most part, Hurowitz, who isn’t paid to do the tours, is far from your typical teenager.

He spends Friday nights at the museum studying ancient Greece and Rome in a class for bookish tweens and teens called Pause for Pegasus, often attends lectures with the all-adult Friends of Egyptian Art group and is in regular touch with the Met’s curators. Other passions include debate, squash, Magic cards and origami, but he doesn’t have any classmate crushes.

“I don’t really have love interests,” he says. “I’m trying to spread interest in Egypt [and] get kids interested in the history.”

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