When Mayfield High School junior Rachel Mills came to school today little did she know that she would hold in her hands a 3,000-year-old relic from an Egyptian tomb.
"It was like being a part of history," she said.
Rachel and her fellow students had the opportunity to participate in the Cleveland Museum of Art "Art to Go" program thanks to a generous donation from the Mayfield Heights-based company, MATERION.
Throughout the school year, students from Mayfield High School and Mayfield Middle School have been able to see first-hand, up close, and in their classrooms original precious relics, art and jewelry from the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Generating much excitement among students was the chance to hold a 3,000-year-old shwabti from an ancient Egyptian tomb which students learned acted as a servant for the dead in the afterlife.
"All I could think of when I was holding it was, 'If I drop this, it's priceless. It can't be replaced,'" Rachel said.
Fortunately, the relic remained intact as students passed the figure from cupped hands protected by curator’s gloves.
Four art docents from the CMA shared original jewelry and relics with students explaining each items origin, culture and purpose. Some of the shared items included a 50-to-100 year old brass anklet from an African tribe, a woman’s silk vest from the 1700s and a ceremonial potlatch spoon from the Alaskan Tlngit tribe made from a goat’s horn.
“The advantage of the Art to Go program is that it may be the only time students have the opportunity to feel artifacts that are thousands of years old,” said CMA art docent Trina Prufer. “History comes alive. Through the examination process students become part scientists, part historians and part archeologist. They are doing what the professionals do every day at the Museum.”
While many of the students have experienced the Cleveland Museum of Art, some students’ interests have been piqued.
“I plan to go to the Museum, said junior Calvin Kolp. “After this experience, I’m more interested to learn about what is there.”
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