To make jewelry, Geni Gallant puts clay into molds shaped like Egyptian symbols.
Geni Gallant, 11, loves everything about ancient Egypt. What started the attraction?
“It began with the ‘Prince of Egypt,’” said Angie Gallant, Geni’s mother. The animated
movie from producer Steven Spielberg sparked an interest that continues to fascinate
the pre-teen enthusiast.
To help Geni learn more about Egypt, Angie and her husband Jeff performed Google searches
to find resources, museums and activities. Their research yielded information about
Ancient Egyptian Family Day sponsored by the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology
(IEAA) in the Art Museum at the University of Memphis (AMUM).
At the age of 5, Geni and her parents made their first trek from Broken Arrow, Okla.,
to Memphis. She did not come empty handed. Geni brought her savings, $6.75, for a
donation because she’d heard the museum needed to raise money for mummy cases.
After her donation, then-President Shirley Raines sent her a letter of appreciation.
“In the letter, President Raines invited Geni to attend the University of Memphis,”
Angie said. “We consider that her first acceptance letter from a university.”
Bright and inquisitive, Geni is a Davidson Young Scholar, a program out of the University
of Nevada in Reno designed to nurture and support profoundly gifted young people.
She is homeschooled and takes extra online classes in advanced subjects such as Latin,
Greek and hieroglyphics.
Her interest in art history has taken her and her family all over in search of new
museums. In addition to museums throughout the U.S., the Gallants have traveled to
Rome, and next year, they plan to visit London.
Although Geni maintains her fascination with Egyptian history, she’s keeping her career
options open. “I’m not sure what I want to be yet…maybe an Egyptologist, maybe a computer
programmer,” she said.
The Ancient Egyptian Family Day is designed to introduce children to the art and culture
of ancient Egypt in a fun and creative environment.
A Tennessee Center of Excellence, the IEAA and the AMUM maintain the largest public
collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the Mid-South. More than 200 objects are
on display representing 4,000 years of Egyptian history. Exhibits include mummies,
statuary, jewelry, tomb furnishings and items from everyday life. For more information,
call Dr. Patricia Podzorski, IEAA curator of Egyptian Art at 901.678.2649.