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Sure, it's all good fun now. But who knows what unearthly peril Phoenix Art Museum may have put our community in?

With the "Splendors of Ancient Egypt" show opening on Sunday, October 4, and continuing through March 28, 1999, PAM would seem, at first glance, to be offering us a rare chance at an up-close look at compelling, exquisitely preserved artifacts from one of the most artistically accomplished of all ancient cultures. The lectures and hands-on activities for both kids and grown-ups also look rewarding.

Some examples: Most Sundays through March 28, the museum will host drop-in workshops for families from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the studio classrooms. Activities range from the hands-on creation masks and sarcophagi, headdresses and pyramids; to learning about the archaeological similarities of the Egyptians and the Valley's own Hohokam people; and learning about the inventions of ancient people. All are free with regular museum admission.

Also offered are more specifically kid-related art classes in making hieroglyphs (ages 8-12), Egyptian masks (ages 8 and up), mummy coffins and cartouches (ages 9 and up) and Pharaoh crowns (ages 5 to 10). Fees for these classes vary and preregistration is required. (257-1880, 257-1222).

Grown-ups can head for the lectures: "New Excavations and Research in the Valley of the Kings" by Richard Wilkinson, Ph.D., at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 22; and "Ritual and the Arts in Ancient Egypt" by musician Jay Cravath at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 12. Both talks will be held in Whiteman Lecture Hall, and both are free with regular admission; tickets, available one week before each lecture, may be picked up in advance.

Enjoy "Splendors of Egypt" while you can, for anyone who's seen The Mummy knows what must sooner or later happen. One dark night, some careless, overambitious young researcher, working late, will read aloud the words of the Scroll of Thoth, and behind him, in one of the sarcophagi, will be a stirring. And the next day, mummy and scroll alike will be missing, dusty footprints will lead out the door, and the young Egyptologist will be huddled on the floor, pale, cackling, "He went for a little walk! You should have seen his faaaace. . . ."

--M. V. Moorhead

Phoenix Art Museum is located at 1625 North Central. 257-1880, 257-1222.


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