A number of colleagues are taking leave following the opening of Ancient Worlds last Thursday but I called in this morning to meet Joyce K. from Victoria in Australia who is visiting the Museum today. Joyce and her colleagues are planning new antiquities displays and she was naturally interested to see how we had approached Ancient Worlds. We’ve been talking to Joyce for a little while now and she timed her visit to take advantage of the opening. It’s gratifying to know that the new displays are attracting international interest within days of the opening.
For me it was fascinating to see how the visitors were reacting to the new galleries. There seemed to be a real sense of engagement with the displays. Whereas before visitors tended to walk through the old displays despite the quality of the exhibits, now they seem to be stopping and looking at things, reading the labels and looking up information using the codes attached to each label.
Joyce talked about displaying material in an art gallery context and Campbell and I couldn’t wait to show her the third gallery with its stunning displays of Egyptian shabtis, lamps, glass and other material.
I also realised belatedly that visitors can read this blog on the gallery. Within seconds of me clicking the button visitors will be reading this and looking at the photos. I can’t think of anything that makes the curatorial input to the museum going experience more immediate. And if you don’t read the blog there’s always some spectacular images on the large screen at the end of the gallery.