|Hippopotamus. Course red pottery, found in grave R134 at Hu, L 27.3 cm, of Predynastic date (c.3500-3000 BC). AN1899-1908E3267 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford|
On June 2nd a new series begins in Oxfordshire Limted Edition, the award-winning monthly magazine published with The Oxford Times, previewing the Ashmolean Museum’s new Egyptian galleries, scheduled to open in November.
Horus, Bes, Min, Sobek, Amun-Ra, Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Ramesses, Thoth — names such as these won’t have been on your lips on recent visits to the Ashmolean Museum. But, they will again later this year, in the last week of November, when the museum’s much loved Egyptian Galleries reopen following a complete transformation.
There will be five galleries in future. The four existing galleries, redesigned and redisplayed, plus a fifth created in the tall stuccoed gallery that until the turn of the year was occupied by the museum shop.
The £5m project to create a new sequence of Egypt galleries is the second phase of the Ashmolean’s redevelopment. It builds on the stunning success of the 2006-9 transformation of the main museum that saw visitor numbers leap to 1.2 million in the first year. That is more than four times the previous annual average. The project is again led by award-winning Rick Mather Architects, supported by Lord Sainsbury’s Linbury Trust.
The Egypt galleries are one of the Ashmolean’s major attractions — the ancient Egyptian and Nubian collections are second only to those in the British Museum — holding around 40,000 objects, and spanning all periods from prehistory to the 7th century AD. The Predynastic and Early Dynastic holdings are particularly strong.
From now until December, with the help of the Ashmolean’s assistant keeper for Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Liam McNamara who is planning the new displays, Oxfordshire Limited Edition readers will be able to ‘visit’ each of the new galleries in turn, focussing on an object or two in each and a key archaeologist whose story will be told there.
The Egypt galleries are due to open the week beginning November 28. Visit the website by clicking HERE.
To register for the e-edition of Oxfordshire Limited Edition click HERE.
Hippopotami abounded in prehistoric Egypt, to judge by the many models that have survived. Associated by the ancient Egyptians with the deity Taweret, protectress of babies and mothers in childbirth, today they inhabit the river no further north than Khartoum. Given by the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1899.