16 May 2023

In her latest blog Venture Arts artist Louise Hewitt visits ‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’ at Manchester Museum.

Louise is passionate about art and culture, visiting Manchester’s wealth of museums and galleries to gain inspiration for her own art and to write her bi-monthly Venture Arts blog…

Two painted wooden Egyptian coffins in a glass case.

Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition at Manchester Museum. 

The newly reopened Manchester Museum is part of the University of Manchester, housed in a neo-gothic building. It was founded in 1867 and cares for about 4.5 million items from every continent.

It closed in summer 2021 and reopened in February of this year, after a £15 million refurbishment. The museum is situated in the main area of the university itself, with a brand new entrance right on Oxford Road. There is just too much to see in one go and so today I am here to see the Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition.

I chose to visit this exhibition as I had seen many advertisements around Manchester and the information on the website intrigued me to go and see it.  I also have a natural love for history and thought it might be interesting to step back in time to some long lost ancient history.

Louise Hewitt stood at the entrance to the Golden Mummies exhibition, stood in front of a pillar inscribed with hyroglyphs.

Louise Hewitt stood at the entrance to Golden Mummies of Egypt.

The Golden Mummies of Egypt is located in the exhibition hall on the ground level of the museum, you need to pass through the main museum shop and small coffee bar in the main hall to access the exhibition. The access to the museum was very good from outside and inside the venue, there are lifts to every floor, the map of the museum is very well laid out and everything is sign posted.

You will need to book a ticket for this exhibition, the ticket is free, but this exhibition is very busy and in high demand. To book the ticket you need to go onto their main website, book here.

The exhibition is about mummies from Egypt to Sudan, telling you about their history and knowledge of the afterlife and their religious beliefs. It’s a chance to explore the ancient past of Egypt and see it come to life, as well as learn about the people who made these magnificent discoveries. I never realised how far back Ancient Egyptian history went, so I learnt a lot.

One of the exhibition pieces I felt most connected to was the bust figure of Manchester Museum’s benefactor Jesse Harworth (1835- 1920), who was very interested in Egyptology. He and his wife, Marianne Harworth, visited Egypt in 1880. The detail on the busts of these two figures is truly amazing. I found it inspiring to see what they found and brought back with them.

As a neurodivergent and autistic visitor I found this exhibition to be over stimulating at times and a bit spooky and eerie, although I think it is intended to be like this as part of the design. I actually felt like I was in a tomb beneath the ground.

Louise Hewitt stood in front of a glass case with a bust in it.

The main cafe in the museum was beautifully well laid out with plenty of seats and you could watch the Manchester traffic flow by as the cafe faces onto Oxford Road itself. I found a small back area where it felt peaceful and I sat back and enjoyed my cappuccino, which was very nice and reasonably priced. They also have a small cafe bar as well and have provided a picnic area near the main cafe, where you can bring your own food.

I think people should visit the museum as it is a really fascinating place and definitely worth a second visit, it has intrigued me to check out all the new galleries. My advice would be to plan what to see though, as it is just too much to see in one day!

Visit museum.manchester.ac.uk to find out more.

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