Bolton Museum’s exciting new tribute to ancient Egypt could be open to the public by Spring 2018.
An intensive schedule of work has been given the go ahead in principle by council chiefs, which means visitors will be able to learn about the town’s important links to the world of pharaohs and pyramids in an interactive, custom-built gallery.
The new gallery will replace the museum’s current Egyptology exhibition, and feature a full size reproduction of the burial chamber of Thutmose III as its centrepiece.
The Grade II listed building also needs essential maintenance work which will be incorporated into the refurbishment.
Cost for the scheme, which is expected to draw in crowds from around the world, will be in the region of £3.8 million, which includes one-off capital funding, income from the museum’s touring exhibition, plus a contribution from sponsor Eddie Davies.
The Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “The museum is a huge asset to the Bolton family. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Greater Manchester, with a respected international reputation for its Egyptology collection.
“I remember taking my own children to the museum – and now my grandchildren – as I am sure is the case for many families across the borough, and it is important to ensure we undertake the highest standard of work that does justice to its historic significance.
“We are confident that our new scheme will be able to address any maintenance issues, as well as deliver a fantastic new gallery for our Egyptology collection which has been on the cards for some time as part of our overall strategy to regenerate the town centre.
“We are very excited about the project and can’t wait to get started for the benefit of the museum and our visitors.”
The scheme’s initial concept of a walk-through, interactive experience with the tomb of Thutmose III at the heart will remain. However, the exhibition will be created using existing gallery space rather than building additional floor space on the roof of the current library.
It is hoped that preparation work on the project, entitled Eternal Egypt, will begin in September with major structural changes commencing from December subject to relevant planning permission.
Bolton’s Egyptology collection is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian collections in the UK with 15,000 artefacts.
A local mill owner’s daughter, Annie Barlow, was a member of the Egypt Exploration Fund in the 19th Century and helped to raise funds for excavations in Egypt. In return she was gifted a number of finds, which she donated to the Chadwick Museum – the Victorian forerunner for Bolton Museum.
Eternal Egypt will document this historical connection as well as exploring ancient Egyptians’ fascination with the afterlife.
More than 250 items from the collection have been on loan to the hugely popular touring exhibition ‘The Quest for Immortality’ since 2011 and the Thutmose III tomb was built exclusively for the tour.