New arts minister Ros Bates has used the launch of a major museum exhibition coup to insist Queensland's “burgeoning cultural reputation” would not be mummified under an LNP government.
Opening Mummy: Secrets of the Lost Tomb at the Queensland Museum South Bank today, Ms Bates was eager to allay fears the new state government would follow the slashing of the Premier's Literary Awards with more cuts to the cultural budget.
She said Premier Campbell Newman's government had committed to future funding for existing programs and described the arts as an important part of the state's history.
“I think you really can't put a dollar value on something this significant in Queensland and I look forward to working with the arts community to enable these sorts of exhibitions in the future,” Ms Bates said.
“Together with my counterpart, the minister for tourism [Jann Stuckey], we're working closely with Events Queensland so we can bring exhibitions like this to Queensland.”
Exclusive to Queensland, the British Museum exhibition celebrates the history of Egypt as well as the Queensland Museum's 150th anniversary.
The display, located in a gallery space built as part of a $14.3 million site upgrade commissioned by the previous Labor government last year, features four preserved mummies and more than 100 ancient artefacts.
British Museum keeper John Taylor curated the exhibition and said the latest technology was used to give visitors an intimate view of a celebrated priest named Nesperennub, and an insight to life in Ancient Egypt from 2300BC to the 1st century AD.
“We have chosen to focus on one particularly fine mummy, Nesperennub, and investigate that mummy using cutting-edge non-invasive imaging, which allows us to see everything inside the mummy, under the wrappings, without touching the surface,” Dr Taylor said.
“This is very important because Egyptian mummies are not an inexhaustible resource, we don't want to unravel them, we want to preserve them for future generations to enjoy and learn from.”
The bodies of a mummified girl and animals lie alongside Nesperennub in the display, which also includes a special family trail designed for children and an adults-only evening program of talks entitled The Mummy: After Dark.
Responding to questions about the exhibition's suitability for young children, Ms Bates dismissed the idea Mummy: Secrets of the Lost Tomb was “too scary”.
“I don't think it's scary at all,” she said.
“Children have grown up with stories of ancient Egypt and the gods and you learn about these things in ancient history.”
Ms Bates said she hoped the show would help revive visitor figures at the museum.
The exhibition is current at the Queensland Museum South Bank from tomorrow until August 19. Adults tickets are from $20, available via FoxTix.