The Penn Museum plans $54 million renovations to its New Egypt and Nubia galleries
The renovation is the largest in the institution's 136-year history.
It's the kind of news to warm an Egyptophile's heart.
This fall, the Penn Museum will begin construction of its new $54 million Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries.
The ambitious, 14,000-square foot project is the largest renovation in the museum's 136-year history, and its two levels will now be home for the institution's collection of nearly 50,000 Egyptian and Nubian objects. Spanning from 4,000 BCE through the 7th century CE, it's one of the largest collections in the United States.
"Unveiling the Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries will be a feat of major significance and a point of cultural pride for the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond," said Christopher Woods, Penn Museum's Williams Director. "Nowhere else outside of Egypt will visitors be able to walk through soaring architectural elements of an ancient Egyptian palace. It is worth the wait."
The new galleries will not only provide a glimpse into the lives of ancient Egyptians and Nubian rulers, Woods said, "but also working citizens who fueled two of the world's oldest and enduring societies."
During the construction project, the current Egypt Gallery, which opened in 1926, will close to the public on Nov. 6. Nov. 5 is the last day guests can visit the gallery.
However, lovers of the collection will be able to visit the exhibit, "Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display" while the Egypt Gallery is closed. Egyptian artifacts will also be on view in the African Galleries and the museum's new Eastern Mediterranean Galleries. Other galleries of the Penn Museum, as well as special exhibitions, will be open during the construction period.
The galleries' main level, targeted to open in late 2026, will focus on "life and afterlife in ancient Egypt." The large central gallery will be anchored by the limestone tomb chapel of Kaipure which has not been on display in its entirety in over 30 years. It dates back to 2,300 BCE in Saqqara and was where priests performed funerary rituals and left offerings to ensure the deceased would prosper in the afterlife.
The galleries' upper level will be devoted to gods and pharaohs. It will include the 3,000-year-old palace of the Pharaoh Merenptah, with 30-foot-tall columns, on display at their full height for the first since their excavation more than 100 years ago.
These galleries are aimed to be completed by late 2028.
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