Progress of the work: April 2006
This month we have been busy preparing the Egyptian galleries for opening next month. Hundreds of objects have now been put into the showcases and it is very exciting to see the new galleries taking shape!
Installing all these objects is very time-consuming, so we have been lucky to have Catriona Smellie, a Museums Studies student from Durham University, helping us this month.
The picture on the right shows Catriona cleaning one of the showcases in the new galleries so it can be filled with objects. The months of building work have left everything rather dusty, so it is important that the cases are completely free of dirt or pollutants before we put any objects inside them.
Once the cases have been cleaned, the objects are assembled and put into their final places. The curators may decide to move some of the objects or even to take them out completely. Our conservators then check the condition of the objects and carry out any last-minute minor repairs or treatments. Next, our team of technicians make mounts for the objects, to support and display them to their best advantage. Finally, the labels and panels are printed and put into the cases. It is a real team effort!
Louise, one of our technicians, has been carefully pinning some of the smaller objects onto fabric-covered boards. She covers the pins with a soft, plastic tube so the objects do not get scratched. The covered pin is carefully bent into shape and used to support the objects on the board.
The pictures on the left show Louise covering and bending the pins, and then using them to attach a model of an arm to a board. The finished product is shown below!
While Louise has been mounting some very tiny objects, our biggest object has also been getting a face-lift. The huge, granite sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III has been in the museum since 1823.
The lid is over 3 metres tall and weighs 7 tons so it has been reconstructed and reinforced with concrete, and then painted. The most recent restoration dates from the 1960's, when the Egyptian galleries were last refurbished. The paint is now looking a bit tired, so we decided to remove all the old paint and paint the restored areas a new colour.
The repainting was done by Lauren Fly and Jessica David, paintings conservation students from the Hamilton Kerr Institute. More pictures of the repainting can be seen on a separate page ( Repainting the sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III).