The Secretary of State for Culture visits the Ashmolean Museum
On Friday 21 October 2011, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, visited the Ashmolean to see the progress being made to the redevelopment of the Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries, opening to the public on 26 November 2011.
Dr Christopher Brown CBE, Director of the Ashmolean, led him on a tour of the 5 new galleries, which are in the process of being installed with the collections.
They also visited the Conservation Studios where they saw the Museum’s conservators working on a series of objects, including funerary portraits, mummies and coffin lids, in preparation for their display.
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, said: “The transformation of the Ashmolean’s Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries will provide a fantastic showcase for some of the world’s most remarkable Egyptian artefacts. I was very privileged today to see the conservation techniques being used to clean and strengthen some of these incredibly old and fragile objects, ready to go on display in the new galleries. I congratulate the Ashmolean on their work to enhance the public’s experience of these rich collections, and I would like to thank Lord Sainsbury’s Linbury Trust and the other funders for supporting this major project."
Building on the success of the Museum’s extension, which opened in 2009, this second phase of major redevelopment redisplays the world-renowned Egyptian collections to exhibit objects that have been in storage for decades, more than doubling the number of mummies and coffins on display. The galleries will take visitors on a chronological journey covering more than 5000 years of human occupation of the Nile Valley.
The £5 million project has received lead support from Lord Sainsbury’s Linbury Trust, along with the Selz Foundation and other trusts, foundations and individuals. Rick Mather Architects have led the redesign and redisplay of four existing Egypt galleries and the extension into the restored Ruskin Gallery, previously occupied by the Museum Shop. The contractor Beard has completed the construction work in the historic building. New openings link the rooms, presenting the collections under the broad themes of Egypt at its Origins; Dynastic Egypt and Nubia; Life after Death in Ancient Egypt; The Amarna ‘Revolution’; Egypt in the Age of Empire; and Egypt meets Greece and Rome.