Funding success for World Museum's Egypt galleries

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Museum receives grant to expand and improve Ancient Egypt galleries

World Museum has received a generous grant of £300,000 towards the expansion and improvement of its Ancient Egypt galleries. 

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Wolfson Foundation have endorsed the exciting project through the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, which includes plans to build a new ‘Mummy Room’ and to redisplay 4,000 incredible objects, some of which have never-before been publically shown.

The new galleries will tell the fascinating story of how Liverpool acquired its world-renowned collection and aims to recreate the grandeur of the display that was lost when the Museum was hit by an incendiary bomb during the May Blitz in the Second World War.

The project will:

• Create a new ‘Mummy Room’ to display 12 mummies. The room will be housed in a restored gallery space that closed to visitors 35 years ago.
• Highlight star objects and recreate the original pre-Second World War display.
• Use animation to bring to life a Book of the Dead; a 4 metre-long papyrus roll from the tomb of Djed-Hor.
• Create visually stunning displays showcasing the diversity, size and significance of the collection.
• Share new research about the Museum’s mummies and other objects.
• Implement new and advanced equipment for regulating environmental conditions for the collections and visitor experience.

Steve Judd, Director of World Museum, said:

“We’re thrilled to have received this generous grant towards our plans for the Ancient Egypt galleries. Our mummy collection is world-renowned and has always proved to be incredibly popular with visitors of all ages.

“Until now, space restrictions have limited us from showing the full scope of our collections. By expanding the Gallery, we look forward to wowing visitors with never-before seen objects displayed in new and exciting ways.” 

World Museum has one of the largest collections of Ancient Egyptian and Nubian antiquities in the UK, with more than 16,000 artefacts ranging from 5,000BC to 642AD. With the generous support of DCMS/Wolfson in 2007, the Ancient Egypt Gallery was refurbished and 1,400 objects were displayed.

Since the Gallery reopened in December 2008, it has attracted more than two million visitors and is National Museums Liverpool’s most popular gallery for schools taking part in formal learning activities. In 2013/14, 28,629 children enjoyed a visit to the Gallery.

Until the end of the Victorian era, Liverpool’s Egyptian collection was the largest after the British Museum and was displayed in the main hall and adjoining galleries. In the May Blitz of 1941, more than 3,000 Egyptian objects were destroyed.

Over the next 40 years, the collection increased in size with 10,000 new acquisitions, but the dedicated gallery that opened in 1976 was modest. Just two mummies out of the collection of 23 were displayed. Improvements to the Gallery in 2008 allowed a further four mummies to be brought out of storage. This number will double again with the opening of the new galleries.

Additional quotes

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, said:

“The Government is committed to supporting the arts and making sure our marvellous museums and inspiring galleries continue to be accessible to all. Thanks to the generosity of the Wolfson Foundation our cultural destinations in communities across the country are going from strength to strength and remain much loved places to visit and explore.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

"This partnership between the Wolfson Foundation and DCMS is an exemplar of how a charity and government can work together. We are delighted to be funding so many wonderful projects across the length and breadth of the country. The country's museums and galleries continue to be an inspiration."

Map showing museums across the UK that will benefit from DCMS/Wolfson improvement grants:

Notes to editors

About National Museums Liverpool
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

World Museum
From the sea to the stars, a visit to World Museum reveals millions of years of the Earth’s history through thousands of exhibits and hands on activities. Find out how humans have created the world we inhabit, from Africa to the Americas, Asia and Europe. Look out for the Ancient Egypt gallery where our collection is amongst the finest in Europe, bringing this age old civilisation to life. Discover the wonders of the natural world in the Clore Natural History Centre, packed full of mounted and preserved specimens of all types of animals, as well as rocks, minerals, fossils and plants. The Aquarium is home to fish from Australia to Anglesey, while an array of creepy crawlies live in the Bug House. Then, blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time as the universe unfolds around you in the Planetarium. World Museum was a winner of Netmums favourite place to go in Merseyside 2011 and was short listed for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award in 2012.