By the time I heard about the Manchester Museum the Egyptology department had closed. Finally, in October 2012, the renamed Ancient World galleries were opened and shortly after I visited for the first time.
I don’t know what the old display looked like (except from some photos I have seen), but the new display is impressive! Hardly ever have I seen so much light in an area with ancient Egyptian artefacts.
For the record, the Ancient World galleries are not only about Egypt, but that is what I will focus on in this post.
There are three rooms in total, the middle one containing the Egyptian artefacts and some items upstairs.
One of the things that has been mentioned by lots of people who visited since is the dense displays. The best known must be the shabtis. I think every one who visited the museum with a camera must have captured them.
Some things are displayed in an unexpected or unusual way. For example above the ‘regular’ display (items no higher than eye level with added information) you will find pottery belonging to the same period as the items beneath it. This gives a very different view that you very likely won’t see at another museum.
Another example is the display of amulets from an unidentified mummy. Amulets can be found in practically every museum which has Egyptian artefacts. But have you ever seen them displayed as they would be placed on the mummy, positioned as they would be – on various levels?
I mentioned at the start of this post that I visited for the first time after the galleries were opened. I have been back twice after that. The museum organises a lot of events. Due to their connection with Manchester University there is a lot to do for a student, like lectures. My last visit included some time ‘backstage’ with Dr Campbell Price, curator for Egypt and Sudan at the museum. I had requested to see the animal mummies, mainly focusing on the cat mummies.
This is a great way to add to your Egyptology study as you get to see things that are not on display with the added bonus that you have someone present with a lot more knowledge, so you get to ask questions too!
And you may get the see the odd thing you didn’t expect, like this mummified animal. It is unknown what animal is inside the wrappings, by the way.
For further information, please see:
– my set on Flickr for all the photos I took at the Manchester Museum
– the Egypt at the Manchester Museum blog
– the Museum Meets blog where you can keep up with upcoming events at the museum
– the Ancient Worlds blog