Monthly Archives: July 2011

Curator’s Diary Tuesday 26th July 2011: a sad goodbye

Yesterday I attended the memorial service in Knutsford for Bob Partridge, a well-known figure in Egyptology, particularly in Manchester where

Bob Partridge in Egypt

Bob Partridge in Egypt

he ran the hugely successful Manchester Ancient Egypt Society and edited Ancient Egypt magazine. MAES has hosted some of the most famous names in Egyptology for talks in Manchester, and through the Society and Bob’s work the support for Egyptology in Manchester has grown and grown. The Manchester Museum’s Egypt collection has benefited over the years from the interest and support of members of MAES and of Bob himself – most recently the Society raised money to contribute to the redisplay of Asru in the new Ancient Worlds galleries, for which the Museum is immensely grateful.

I returned from London on Friday after teaching a week-long Bloomsbury Summer School course on Perceptions of Egypt, which explored the roots of our ideas about Egypt, and the nature of ancient Egypt’s continued popularity. The course was attended by people from the USA, Spain and the UK, all of whom contributed to the extended discussions we had on everything from aliens building the pyramids to mummy films and Egypt as an African culture. We ended the course with a walk looking at ancient and Art Deco Egypt in London – the photo below shows the group in front of one of the sphinxes at Cleopatra’s Needle on the Victoria Embankment.

Bloomsbury Summer School 2011

Bloomsbury Summer School 2011

I am now back at the Museum where we are focusing on the development of digital content for the Ancient Worlds galleries. The photographer, Paul Cliff, and his assistant, Victoria, began work yesterday and are producing beautiful images to be used in various ways in association with the new galleries. The Egypt galleries have been partially emptied to allow the photography to take place and to begin the conservation of objects for Unearthed!, the temporary Egypt exhibition featuring Terry Deary of Horrible Histories fame, opening in September 2011, and for Ancient Worlds, opening towards the end of next year.

Wedjat ring for Ancient Worlds digital content

Wedjat ring for Ancient Worlds digital content

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Curator’s Diary, Monday July 4th 2011

Over the last couple of months I have been almost entirely focussed on putting together object lists for the Ancient Worlds galleries, due to open in October 2012. The lists, of over 2000 objects for the

Cleopatra's Needle

Cleopatra's Needle, Victoria Embankment

Egypt gallery alone, were sent to the designers, Opera, in Amsterdam, on Friday afternoon. Now we will move on to the next stage, developing layouts, seeing which objects won’t make the final cut due to space or conservation issues, and beginning to think in more detail about interpretive media: text, images, maps, audio, videos and so on. I have also been speaking to photographers and digital media specialists about developing digital resources such as 3D modelling of objects for use on the gallery and on the mobile website we are developing in association with the Ancient Worlds galleries.

I spent last Tuesday in London, at Egypt Exploration Society meetings, including a press event at the Middle East Society in Mayfair where we talked about the current and future work of the Society in the ‘New Egypt’ to an audience of journalists, Egyptian business representatives, travel companies and academics, to spread the word of the Society’s work (see http://www.ees.ac.uk/news/index/121.html). It was a hugely succesful event with a high level of attendance and lots of positive feedback.

While I was in london I took the opportunity to prepare some of the sessions for my forthcoming Bloomsbury Summer School, Perceptions of Egypt: Mummymania to Museums (18th-22nd July). The course will include a walk around central London looking at Egyptian and Egyptianising achitecture, including the columns on the facade of the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, and Cleopatra’s Needle on the Victoria Embankment.

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