A series of new galleries which celebrate the connection between Bolton and Ancient Egypt and highlight the town’s world-class collection of Egyptian artefacts, is now open to visitors, as part of a wider £3.8m refurbishment of the Bolton Museum.
The five specially-designed Egyptian rooms were opened this weekend, alongside new spaces including a gallery, nature displays and a local history section. Bolton’s Egypt contains over 2,000 different objects drawn from the town’s archive of over 12,000 items. Much of the council’s collection is the result of Victorian collectors, and the direct legacy of three prominent Bolton families.
The galleries were designed by Leach Studios, a company which specialises in museum and exhibition visitor experiences.
At the centre is a full-scale recreation of the tomb of Thutmose III, discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1898, which will exhibit Bolton’s mummy acquired in the 1930s and believed to be of Royal descent.
The figure is laid on an ornate coffin-base within the chamber, the walls of which feature illustrations depicting the 12-hour journey that the Ancient Egyptians believed was taken by the human soul from this life to the next.
Also on display are funeral masks, stone columns, brightly coloured fragments of ceramics, ornate statues and illustrated reliefs, as well as displays of jewellery, clothing, jars, ornaments, figurines, tools, coffins and weapons.
With an emphasis on natural light, the first two galleries are decorated with large coloured murals and other graphics which capture the Ancient Egyptian people’s celebration of life. Themes include fashion, beauty and lifestyle, together with sections on travel, trade and the natural world.
Cllr Linda Thomas, leader of Bolton Council and culture lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “Ever since The Chadwick Museum was first opened at Queen’s Park in 1884, Bolton has a long history of giving people the chance to enjoy its priceless collection of Egyptian artefacts.
“We are also very proud of the town’s rich philanthropic tradition, our deeply-rooted civic values, and a belief in improving the quality of life for all Boltonians through free access to high-quality cultural, educational and community resources.”