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Monday, September 24, 2018

Apprentice's Margaret Mountford opens Egypt exhibit with Prof Joann Fletcher | The Bolton News

Apprentice's Margaret Mountford opens Egypt exhibit with Prof Joann Fletcher

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THE Egyptian collection in Bolton is "one of the best in the world" says a renowned expert on the subject.

Two leading experts in Egyptian studies, who will be instantly recognisably to many from their work on TV, officially opened Bolton's Egypt exhibition.

Margaret Mountford, Lord Sugar's aide in The Apprentice, a doctor of Papyrology and chairman of the Egypt Exploration Society, and Joann Fletcher, known for her many Ancient Egypt documentaries and a visiting professor at the University of York, opened the new exhibit on Friday evening.

Before the opening the pair spoke with The Bolton News about the importance of the collection and what a wonderful asset it is to the town.

Professor Fletcher, who has visited the collection of more than 12,000 items for many years, said:"It's of national, if not international importance, it's one of the major collections in terms of a public museum.

"It's full of colour, light and life, like Egypt would have been and you get the daily life before the funerary things and it's done so tastefully. It is a beautiful exhibition space, it's one of the best in the world."

READ MORE: A first look at the new Egyptian collection

She added: "There's plenty relating to any subject of research. I've studied the imagery and the artefacts here and it's such a stunning collection the curators have always been wonderful.

"It's a real gem in Bolton's crown."

Both experts were impressed with the set up of the exhibit which they hoped would interest old and young alike, Dr Mountford hoped it would "inspire" an interest for youngsters and Prof Fletcher said: "It's a beautiful space that can be accessible on any level whether you're three or 93."

Dr Mountford added: "I want people to know how special it is, it's really eye catching, you come in and think 'wow'"

The pair thought visitors should keep an eye out for the mummified cats which they hoped would be interesting and Dr Mountford said the life-size replica of the tomb of Tuthmose III was "stunning".

Prof Fletcher added: "The tomb is an exact replica and it's like being in the Valley of the Kings."

The Egypt Exploration Society has a long history with Bolton thanks to Annie Barlow, who was a local secretary for the society and helped to raise money for excavations in Egypt bringing many items back to the town.

READ MORE: The Victorian mill owner's daughter behind Bolton's vast Egyptology collection

Dr Mountford explained Miss Barlow's importance: "The Egypt Exploration Society was founded in 1882, it raised money to carry out research in Egypt. Annie Barlow was a great local supporter, she was a secretary for 50 years and raised a lot of money and was instrumental in the Egyptian Exploration Fund [as it was then called]."

Miss Barlow helped bring these artefacts to Bolton where they were housed in the Chadwick Museum.

Dr Mountford added: "There's a lot of museums that have items the Egypt Exploration Fund excavated. The great thing is they have a detailed provenance. A lot of regional collections come from things found in attics but anything that was excavated properly has it's provenance and you can learn so much more."

The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday with a family fun day along with two more refurbished galleries.

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