Universiteit Leiden

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Archaeological context, design and architecture: tensions in museum displays of Egypt

  • Neal Spencer, British Museum
Monday 5 November 2018
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Main hall

Focusing on the British Museum as a case study, this lecture will explore the tensions underlying how Egypt has been displayed in museums during the 20th and 21stcenturies. While a broad move from taxonomic towards contextual displays, typically with considerably fewer objects, can be traced, the role of curators, trustees, designers and architects in this shift will be considered.

Furthermore, I will reveal how the great museum buildings of the 19th century continually, through their architecture, limited how the objects, cultures and places of Egypt have been shown to visitors – and how curators sought to mitigate the effects of this imposing physical environment.

The paper will conclude with thoughts on how we might best engage with present-day visitors, who may be seeking an experience significantly different from what the Egyptologist/curator imagines when conceiving a new gallery or exhibition.

The lecture is followed by a reception.

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