Curator’s Diary, Monday 20th October 2008

Sir Jesse Haworth, Manchester Cotton Merchant and Museum benefactor

Sir Jesse Haworth, Manchester Cotton Merchant and Museum benefactor

This is a busy time of year at the Museum with the start of the new academic year –  we are part of Manchester University and many of the staff are involved in teaching and research activities, as well as public activities.

On Saturday I was in showing examples of New Kingdom temple foundation offerings  – tiny faience models of bound oxen, ox legs and ox heads – as part of the Big and Small Big Saturday family event.

I am teaching an Introduction to Ancient Egypt for the MSc students in Forensic and Biomedical Egyptology  at the KNH-centre, and this week we will be touring the Museum, looking at the collections and the kind of material that we have, as well as explaining how to access the material for research. The Egypt collections are heavily used by researchers from around the world, who usually first get in touch with me to discuss possible options, and then fill in a sampling request form available from the Museum website (http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/reportspolicies/).

This week we also have a Content Team meeting for the redevelopment of the Egypt and Archaeology galleries, where we will be discussing the community consultations for archaeology and the Sudanese material, as well as plans to host a Black Egypt day next year, which will explore the Afrocentric approach to ancient Egypt. Egypt fascinates many people and the Museum would like to reflect diverse interpretations about the past that exist today.

This morning I met with Andrea Winn, Curator of Community Collections, to discuss which parts of the Egypt collections could be used in the new Manchester gallery, ‘Our City’, to be opened in March 2009. The gallery will look at how the Museum collections connect to Manchester City, with the Egypt section focussing on how such an excellent representative collection ended up in the North West of England – exploring the connections between the Manchester Cotton Merchant, Jesse Haworth, Amelia Edwards, author of ‘A Thousand Miles Up the Mile’ and founder of the Egypt Exploration Fund (now Society, http://www.ees.ac.uk), and the archaeologist Flinders Petrie, the ‘Father of Egyptology’.

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