De Young museum's 'Ramses the Great' exhibit opens featuring Egyptian treasures
SAN FRANCISCO – With 181 pieces from ancient Egypt, the "Ramses the Great" exhibit has opened at San Francisco's de Young museum.
It's considered one of the greatest collections to ever come to the United States, but one of the biggest attractions at the museum Wednesday was the man who put it all together.
"You know, anything about ancient Egypt captures the hearts of people," explained Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former Minister of Antiquities. "If you ask a child the age of eight, you tell them 'Egypt,' they will say 'pyramids, the Sphinx, Tutankhamen, Ramses the 2nd, and mummies.'"
With that signature enthusiasm, Dr. Hawass walked through an exhibit that truly delivers the gold of the pharaohs.
"It shows his power," Hawass told KPIX 5 of the pieces. "That he could really explore the gold mines in Nubia, granite in Aswan, and alabaster in Middle Egypt."
For all of the incredible things to see here, it was hard to match the attention paid to the exhibit's curator.
"Oh, it was cool," said Adrian, a visitor who recognized the famed Egyptologist. "I was quite star struck, actually."
People stopped in their tracks for pictures. After decades on television, Hawass is, in the words of one visitor, the face of Egyptian archeology.
"I really think all of this came because of the passion that I had in the beginning of my career," Hawass said. "That passion gave me the idea that I talk about archaeology as if I'm talking about my lover."
Along with the Ramses tour, Hawass is also focusing that passion toward a push to bring some artifacts, like the Rosetta Stone, back home to Egypt.
"How the Rosetta Stone can be in the British Museum?" Hawass scoffed. "Now it's time that the monuments of Africa have to go back to the Africans."
Not just a showman and a promoter, Hawass said he considers himself a defender of antiquity. A job he clearly still relishes.
"If anyone attacks," Hawass laughed, "Or talks about how aliens built the pyramids, things like that, I'm the one who stands up and says 'No! This is not true.'"
The exhibit is already drawing crowds, with lines on a Tuesday, "Ramses the Great" runs through February.Wilson Walker
-- Sent from my Linux system.