Sunken Cities, Empty Wallet

Cover Photo: An aerial view sunken trading ship in the port of Thonis-Heracleion on display with several artifacts found on board. Photo by Ryan Saufferer

The Minnesota Institute of Arts (MIA) is hosting the Egypts Sunken Cities exhibit until April 14th 2019. As a history buff, I was more than a little excited to check out the finds that are reshaping what we know about ancient egypt. However, more than cities were sunk in that exhibit as my college budget forked over the $20 for the ticket to the exhibit. This is a steep price to pay for the normally free museum, and no I checked, there were no student discounts available.

The exhibit displays hundreds of artifacts recovered by divers from the ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion, a port city swallowed by the mediterranean. The first thing you see when you enter the exhibit is the stele discovered Franck Goddio which solved the an ancient mystery. Where was the city of Thonis? The stele depicted that the city the Greeks called Thonis and the Egyptian city of Heracleion were in fact the same city.

The stele discovered by Franck Goddio. Photo by Ryan Saufferer

This discovery resulted archeological dives that are still occuring today. But is the museum worth it?  Personally, it took me a little under an hour to weave through the themed rooms of the exhibit that while aesthetically pleasing, began to become a bit repetitive. There were, however, several displays worth mentioning.

One of these displays was an extremely well preserved cult statue depicting the rebirth of the god king Osiris. Osiris was considered the patron god of Thonis-Heracleion and has been established to be the first “Perfect Being” in Egyptian mythology.

Monument depicting the rebirth of Osiris. Photo by Ryan Saufferer

Once you leave the exhibit, you find yourself in the middle of one the many of  MIA’s other exhibits.You are free to roam and visit the rest of the museum’s other exhibits free of charge. It is worth noting however, that these exhibits are free even if you do not pay admission for Sunken Cities exhibit. These exhibits range from Native American artifacts to African Tribal masks and a walk through Japanese tea house.

By the end of my day, my opinion was formed. Egypts Sunken Cities, however interesting and groundbreaking it is, is to much of a burden on the average college students budget to justify the sticker price. However! The MIA’s many other exhibits which are open to the public at no cost are a must for any student.