The Egyptology room at Bolton Museum, Le Mans Crescent, Bolton. Some of the artifacts are going on tour in China.

BOLTON Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Ancient Egyptian objects in the UK, containing some 10,000 artefacts spanning a 12,000-year period.

In Bolton Museum a new multi-million pound gallery is being developed to show the world renowned collection which gives a glimpse into the land of the Pharoahs and continues to fascinate and intrigue people today. Once open next year, it is set to be a major tourist attraction attracting visitors from abroad.

The collection can be traced back to the daughter of a mill owner, Annie Barlow (1863-1941). Her father, James, who lived in Edgworth, founded one of the most success mill companies — Barlow and Jones — which imported Egyptian cotton. While Egypt was of great interest commercially, his daughter's interest lay in Ancient Egypt.

It was sparked when she accompanied her brother on a trade visit to the country. She was recruited to the Egypt Exploration Society while studying at University College London and was appointed as Honorary Local Secretary for the Bolton Region to raise money for excavations in Egypt. Annie began to support the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), a group set up to promote interest in the monuments of Egypt. She was soon appointed as "Local Secretary" for Bolton, responsible for raising funds for it.

Annie travelled to Egypt in 1888, a considerable undertaking for an unmarried woman, and visited sites in the Nile Delta being excavated by the EES.

Bolton benefited from Annie's support for the EES.

Excavators in Egypt were allowed to keep a proportion of their finds and the EES used this system to raise money for excavations, giving objects to institutions or collectors who had funded their work.

Annie asked for her share of the finds to be given to the Chadwick Museum, the forerunner of Bolton Museum.

Bolton Museum has been a major supporter of the Egypt Exploration Society ever since, and a large proportion of its Egyptian collection derives from EES excavations.

Items that will be on display include textiles, basketry and boxes, funerary objects, mummies, coins, coin elements and cartonnage, architectural elements (wall reliefs, tomb reliefs including a false door, inscribed column fragments, beaded wall covering, painted plaster for walls and floor), ceramic, stone, faience, wood, glass, and faience vessels, amulets and jewellery, cosmetic containers, toiletry items (combs, razors, mirrors, tweezers, palettes), tools and weapons, toys, ritual objects (large bronze incense stand, incense tongs, situla; clay hair balls) and ostraca, papyri and scribal equipment.

The new gallery will replace the museum's current Egyptology exhibition, the centrepiece of which will be a full size reproduction of the burial chamber of Thutmose III.

Thutmose III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost 54 years, and his reign is usually dated from April 24, 1479 BCE to March, 1425.

Many of the museum's artefacts have even travelled the globe as part of the hugely popular touring exhibition The Quest for Immortality since 2011. About 250 objects toured as part of the Quest for Immortality — The Hidden Treasure of Ancient Egypt exhibition in the Far East, which raised the profile of the museum in Bolton and on an international scale.

An ancient Egyptian mystery was solved as part of of tour. Doctors in America carried out a full body scan on Bolton's 2,000-year-old child mummy.

They discovered that the child was younger than first thought when she died and they have also determined her cause of death as appendicitis. Radiologists at the Palm Beach Children's Hospital in Florida described the chance to study the mummy as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

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