Students Dig into Ancient Egypt; Ten Beaches Schools Delve into Its Lore Ahead of the Cummer Show

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Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

They studied ancient Egyptian writing and art, then wrote their own names using hieroglyphics.

They created Egyptian newspapers, calling them The Egyptian Times and The Egyptian Papyrus.

They pored over research articles about Egypt from 2600 B.C. to about 400 A.D.

Some pretended to be archeologists unearthing artifacts, other pretended to be reporters writing about the archaeologists.

"They've been immersed in Egypt for the last couple of months," Landrum Middle School language arts teacher Jane White said recently as she watched some of her sixth-grade students work on their Egypt projects.

Students in 10 schools throughout the Beaches studied ancient Egypt this fall in anticipation of an exhibit at The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens called "Temple and Tombs: Treasures of Egyptian Art from the British Museum."

The museum's history-making exhibit opened Friday and students from Landrum and elementary schools including Finegan, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, PVPV/Rawlings, Ocean Palms, San Pablo, Mayport and Seabreeze will take field trips to see it before it closes March 18.

Those schools are part of the Future Artists of the Beaches, or FAB Fest program sponsored by FOCUS Cummer, Friends of the Ocean Communities United to Support the Cummer.

Designed to raise awareness of the museum at 829 Riverside Ave. for teachers and families in the Beaches, the long-standing program funds participation by Beaches schools every year in projects that revolve around new exhibits.

FAB Fest aims to provide meaningful educational experiences for students, culminating with an exhibition showcasing student artwork in the museum's Art Connections gallery.

The Egyptian exhibit, featuring rare art and antiquities from the world-renowned collection from the British Museum, "is stunning, the largest and most expensive" ever at the Cummer, said Museum Director Maarten van de Guchte.

The Cummer is one of only five stops in the United States for the 85-piece exhibit, which comprises statues, sculptures, jewelry, papyrus writings, and more from shortly before the Third Dynasty, about 2686 B.C., to the Roman occupation of the fourth century A.D.

To help the Beaches schools prepare for their projects, museum educator Rebecca Hickey visited each school and provided teachers with lesson plans and research material about ancient Egyptian culture, art and hieroglyphics. …