New galleries bring Egyptian and Nubian collections of out storage

The Ashmolean Museum has opened six new galleries to house the collections of Ancient Egypt and Nubia (present day Sudan).

Building on the museum’s new extension, which opened in 2009, this second phase of major redevelopment will display the world-renowned Egyptian collections and exhibit objects that have been in storage for decades, more than doubling the number of mummies and coffins on display.

The new galleries will take visitors on a chronological journey covering more than 5,000 years of human occupation of the Nile Valley.

 With new lighting, display cases and interpretation, the project completes the Ashmolean's Ancient World Floor, comprising galleries that span the world's great civilisations - from Egypt and Nubia, prehistoric Europe, the ancient Near East, Classical Greece and Rome, to India, China and Japan.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘These remarkable collections are among the most important outside Egypt and one of the Ashmolean’s most popular attractions. With an exciting series of new galleries, this significant redevelopment will both transform the opportunities for using the collections for teaching and research at all levels and the way they are enjoyed, cared for and integrated within the wider Museum, well into the future.’

The £5m project has received support from Lord Sainsbury’s Linbury Trust along with the Selz Foundation and others. Rick Mather Architects are leading the redesign.

Dr Christopher Brown CBE, director of the Ashmolean, said: ‘We are enormously grateful to Lord Sainsbury and the Linbury Trust for initiating this transformative project for one of the most important and popular areas of the Museum. Rick Mather’s design for the galleries now allows us to display material that, for reasons of conversation, has not been seen for up to half a century.’