MAXTON — Anubis, the jackal-headed god of of the underworld in Egyptian mythology, stands at the front of classroom 145 at Prospect Elementary School, watching over Corey Deese’s art room with a stern look and a large stick.
“He’s guarding my classroom,” Deese said. “The kids really like it, but some of them think it is kind of scary. They say, ‘It feels like he’s looking at me.’”
The 7-foot-tall statue is just one of the creations Deese’s eighth-grade advanced art students have created for their Live Art Museum. The project, which required 10 weeks of work and produced more than 30 pieces of art, was displayed at Prospect in February and is now traveling to Southside/Ashpole School to be displayed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday.
“I think the whole school benefits, not only my students because we’re in a low income area where people don’t get to go to museums very often, the kids get exposed to a museum feel without actually having to travel to an art museum,” Deese said.
The second annual project’s name stems from the inaugural event.
“We call it a Live Museum just because last year they had to dress up as famous artist and talk about themselves as people walked around and viewed their artwork,” Deese said. “There are some of the children who are dressed up as famous pharaohs, Cleopatra, King Tut, Menes, and Djoser, so I guess Live Museum is still accurate.”
Along with the statue of Anubis, the 23 students built a 6-foot-tall and 8-foot-wide pyramid, King Tut’s burial mask, a sarcophagus, and other pieces related to ancient Egypt.
James Jorgensen, the band teacher at Prospect, created the wooden frame for the pyramid.
“I think it was a great opportunity for the students to see the different cultures from Egypt,” Jorgensen said. “The dress, how they lived, how they died. It took them from a very early aspect of it right on to the end.”
The frame was covered with bulletin board paper, which was drenched in glue, followed by sand and spray paint. The pyramid was displayed at Prospect, but couldn’t squeeze through the doors at Southside/Ashpole School.
“I heard nothing but positive comments,” Jorgensen said. “The kids asked a lot of questions. They were very inquisitive and the kids presenting were very knowledgeable.”
Charli Bullard was one of the students who worked on Anubis and the King Tut burial mask.
“It was fun because it was really hands-on and we go to do stuff from scratch,” Bullard said. “My favorite part was Anubis. He was fun to build and he looked sort of scary but cool because he was the guard of the dead.”
Bullard worked at the cartouche table during the showing, helping students to do rubs of their initials and hieroglyphics after exiting King Tut’s tomb. A cartouche is a hieroglyphic made of a rectangle with a horizontal line at one end indicating the text inside is a royal name.
The students made costumes and wooden-bead bracelets to wear while guiding others through the museum.
At the beginning of the tour, students are welcomed by a tour guide who shows them a replica of King Tut’s burial mask. They then get a history lesson about social classes, housing, language, gods and goddesses, religion, burial customs, pyramids and pharaohs.
“The kids being dressed up as pharaohs gets them more interested in it and they learn the whole social studies behind it and the history without even knowing they are,” Deese said. “They just think it’s cool and fun to go to.”
They then enter King Tut’s tomb, where the sarcophagus is surrounded by tiki torches. The torches are lit by flashlights hidden by tissue paper.
“Then we had a big outdoor spotlight that shined on the sarcophagus but was still dim enough that they get that sarcophagus feel to it,” Deese said.
After exiting the tomb, students get to see examples of Ancient Egyptian artwork and then get to make their cartouches.
At Prospect, students in grades pre-K through eighth toured the museum, which takes up to 10 minutes to view.
“I have pre-activities that I passed out to each grade level to introduce ancient Egypt before they came,” Deese said. “Then each grade level had a follow-up activity to do after, like making a bookmark or making a mask just to kind of go over what they saw at the museum.”
To get the museum to come to your school, call Deese at (910) 521-4766.