Book of the Dead exhibition at the Victoria Gallery and Museum

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The Book of the Dead exhibition moved over from the Garstang to its sister museum, the Victoria Gallery and Museum on 21 October 2017. I went along with my girls in its first week to have a nose and see how it worked out.

I have to start by saying that the building that houses the Victoria Gallery and Museum is just gorgeous. It’s red brick, Victorian-era gothic, topped off by a splendid clock tower. Inside, the walls of the lofty rooms and corridors are covered with the most wonderful Victorian tiles, and the floors are mosaics.

To get to the exhibition, you have to go up to the first floor, and it’s down at the end of one of the lovely tiled corridors.

Looking down a long, straight hallway tiled in Victorian-era tiling
The hallway you walk down to get to the exhibition
The doorway to an exhibition with signage
The entrance to the exhibition

The exhibition itself is in a single room, like at the Garstang. It is, however, different in several ways, including:

  • The background colour of the walls is a dark green rather than black
  • The artefacts are arranged differently around the room
  • The centrepiece is a glass case rather than a false wall
  • The coffin boards of Ipi are behind a glass panel
The wall of an exhibition room with ancient Egyptian coffin panels
The coffin boards of Ipi
A museum gallery with images and artefacts from ancient Egypt
A collection of my images in the display case
A museum gallery with ancient Egyptian artefacts
The central display case
Part of a museum exhibition room with ancient Egyptian objects on display
Amulets and more of my photos
A museum exhibition room with ancient Egyptian objects on display
Pages from funerary texts

How does the exhibition work out?

All-in-all, I really like the exhibition in its new home. The Victorian splendour of the VGM takes you back to the so-called ‘golden age’ of Egyptology, and, from a personal perspective, I’m again really happy with how my images look.

A collection of images of ancient Egyptian papryi
Some of my images looking fab on the wall

On the flip side, the exhibition’s in a room it wasn’t designed to be in. Some of the images and information panels are in a glass display case when they really don’t need to be. The windows in the room are covered by light-coloured roller blinds instead of the false walls used in the Garstang, which takes away that underworld feeling the exhibition’s meant to invoke.

Also, disappointingly, the wonderful faux fires are missing.

Two lamps made to look like flames with coloured bulbs and fabric
No more Lake of Fire

But, helpfully for visitors, you can still weigh your heart against the feather of truth …

Two girls playing with a set of scales made to look like the ancient Egyptian scales of truth
My girls weighing their hearts against the feather of truth

I am, of course, biased, but I really liked the exhibition. I’ve heard so much positive feedback from people who’ve been, and I have to agree that all the hard work from those involved has really paid off. I’m truly proud and honoured to have been able to play a part.

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25 January 2019 11:53 am

[…] was the month the Book of the Dead exhibition closed at the Garstang. As it was moving over to the Victoria Gallery and Museum to be on display for a whole year, we decided to get more artefacts from the exhibition photographed. I photographed amulets, shabtis […]

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