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Posts by Ashley Cooke

Out of the rubble

19 February 2018 by Ashley Cooke

One of my favourite parts of being a curator is the detective work done in storerooms, archives and libraries. I really enjoy making a match between an object and an archive reference. This is incredibly useful when you’re curating a collection that was devastated by a fire in the Second World War. Many objects salvaged from the ruins of the museum were no longer marked with an accession number – the unique number that links object with documentation. Objects were reassigned new numbers but they had lost their ‘identity’.  Without the original number we can’t easily identify an object in the archives that record its history. Their ‘biography’ was stripped away by the fire. We don’t know who donated it to the museum or where and when it was excavated. Sadly, without that background story, it becomes a little bit less of an object. Read more…

Ten missing animal mummies come home!

23 January 2018 by Ashley Cooke

Just before Christmas ten animal mummies were returned to World Museum after 40 years. The excitement all started in late October when I got an interesting message about a box of crocodiles and a cat from Hannah who works on the information desk at World Museum (it was like Christmas come early AND it was actually my birthday that day). Read more…

Snakes mummy revealed

14 October 2016 by Ashley Cooke

A bundle of mummified snakes wrapped in linen bandages.

Object no. M13645 – a bundle of mummified snakes, date uncertain (c. 600 BC – AD 200). Gift of Joseph Mayer, 1867.

It’s been a busy week in the run up to opening Animal Mummies Revealed, but somehow we managed to fit in X-raying seven animal mummies.

Read more…

Animal Mummies Revealed

7 October 2016 by Ashley Cooke

cat mummyOur next exhibition Animal Mummies Revealed opens on 14 October at World Museum.

Among the 113 artefacts in the exhibition are 34 from World Museum’s ancient Egyptian collection, many of which have never been on display before. ‘Animal Mummies Revealed’ brings together mummies of all shapes and sizes, and a range of other artefacts from across the UK for the country’s first ever exhibition devoted to why the ancient
Egyptians mummified animals and gave them to their gods as gifts. Read more…

Visiting Egyptologists and a Returning Cat Mummy

29 November 2013 by Ashley Cooke

Photo of a student with a coffin

Allison Williams with the coffin of Tamutheribes from 664 – 525 BC (no. M14047)

Besides attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year our Ancient Egypt Gallery gets visited by scholars from museums and universities around the world who want to study objects in the collection. Last week a more ‘local’ PhD student from the University of Liverpool came to our storeroom to make a close inspection of our coffins. Allison Williams is in the early stage of her career training to be an Egyptologist at Liverpool Read more…

19 tonnes of mummified cats!

7 November 2013 by Ashley Cooke

Researchers from Manchester looking at cat mummies.

Researchers from Manchester looking at cat mummies.

This week colleagues from the Manchester Museum and the University of Manchester came to see the World Museum‘s collection of 95 animal mummies from ancient Egypt. Dr Stephanie Atherton and Dr Lidija McKnight both study mummified faunal remains and are members of the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project, which aims to promote the study of faunal remains by uncovering information relating to these creatures and the ancient culture that preserved them. Read more…

Pharaoh, kiss me quick!

1 November 2013 by Ashley Cooke

Fragment of Akhenaten's face, excavated 1931-32 (about 1352-1336 BC).

Fragment of Akhenaten’s face from the wall of a bridge, excavated 1931-32 (about 1352-1336 BC). Accession no. 1973.1.527g

Yesterday two Egyptologists from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Berlin, visited us at World Museum to discuss a new collaborative project to bring together objects that are now in collections all around the world. Read more…

Anubis from the ashes!

18 September 2013 by Ashley Cooke

wooden sculpture of a recumbent jackal

Wooden Anubis jackal, accession number M11834, 36 cm long

It’s a new academic year and we’ll soon be welcoming new school groups and university students into the museum to discover more about the ancient Egyptians using our fabulous Egyptology collection. I’ve been working with Adam Gledhill from the education department to refurbish a showcase in our Treasure House Theatre. It’s a part of the museum where visitors can learn more our collections and ancient civilisations through lectures and performances. Read more…

Autumn in the Museum

18 September 2013 by Ashley Cooke

Image of both sides of a copper token.

1796 copper token, accession no. 1968.219.160

Here’s a post from Ben Jones, our Numismatics Documentation Assistant:

“To Keats it was a ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, but for us so far it has been a season of uncommon warmth followed by freak hailstorms! With the the various harvest festivals fast approaching here is an image of agricultural bounty to celebrate the spirit of Autumn. Read more…

Ancient Egyptian replicas – not the real thing?

20 August 2013 by Ashley Cooke

Replica of a lapis lazuli figure of a woman

Replica of a lapis lazuli figure of a woman

There are over 1300 objects in our Ancient Egypt Gallery but two of these are replicas that we included because the story of their discovery relates to Liverpool archaeologists. Casts of important objects were often made before the genuine object was deposited in a museum Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.