Ancient Egypt exhibition pulls in the crowds

12th March 2018

Over 38,000 people visited the Ancient Egypt exhibition series at Barnsley Museums last year, making it one of its most popular exhibitions to date.

In the opening week of the exhibition in October, Experience Barnsley welcomed 1,300 people. Visitors queued up to get a glimpse of the 200 Egyptian objects on display which were loaned from ten museum sites across Yorkshire.

The exhibition at Experience Barnsley, the Cooper Gallery and Cannon Hall was curated by Professor Joann Fletcher who became a patron of Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust in 2016. It highlighted the connections between Ancient Egypt and Yorkshire dating back to 1610.

During the exhibitions, local primary school children were invited to visit and discover their ancient Egyptian roots. In workshops hosted by Joann, the children learnt about ancient Egyptian culture and beliefs, with a focus on the sacred scarab beetle. They even got to make their own scarab amulet out of clay with the museums’ learning team.

Joann also hosted talks about the connections between Ancient Egypt and Yorkshire, with donations going to Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust. Over 250 people attended the talks across the three museum sites.

Alongside the exhibition, an innovative digital campaign was created with the support of journalist and trustee Graham Walker and Johnston Press, which enabled the creation of an augmented poster trail. This means the exhibition has a legacy in every school in the area.

Margot Walker, Chair of Trustees at Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust, said: “The exhibition was a prime example of what is so surprising about Barnsley. You might not have thought that nestled here would be wonderful treasures and stories relating to Egypt.

“We are thrilled to hear the positive effect the exhibition has had on the town. It’s clearly proved popular with the people of Yorkshire and it’s great that the younger generation were able to get involved and learn about their Egyptian heritage.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the visitors who donated to the Trust during the exhibition and to say a special thanks to our patron Professor Joann Fletcher for inspiring people of all ages.”

If you enjoyed the Ancient Egypt exhibitions, you may be interested to know that the Egypt Exploration Society has launched a new local ambassador programme, backed by Professor Joann Fletcher. Click here to find out more.

Joann’s BBC TV series ‘Immortal Egypt’ is currently being repeated on BBC Four on Tuesdays at 8pm, or you can catch it on BBC iPlayer.