Exciting plans for World Museum's Ancient Egypt galleries

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Image of a mummy from World Museum's collection

A new 'Mummy Room' will house 12 mummies

Fantastic news! World Museum has received a grant of £300,000 towards the expansion and improvement of our much-loved 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 publicly 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 our collection.
  • Share new research about the Museum’s mummies and other objects.
  • Implement new and advanced equipment for regulating environmental conditions for the collections.

A detail from the Book of the Dead of Amenkau

A detail from the Book of the Dead of Amenkau

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 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 our 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. We're so excited about the plans and would love to hear what you think! Feel free to comment below to share your thoughts. We'll be blogging to keep you updated on progress as we go!