Ancient Egypt is the focus of the Collectors’ Room at Towneley which is packed full of objects which have been on show in the museum since before 1910.
The Egyptian mummy and mummy case come from different periods of ancient Egypt given to the hall by the last of the Towneley family to live in the hall, Lady O’Hagan. She had a fascination with Egyptology and helped to sponsor John Garstang’s excavations in Egypt. As a result, John sent collections back to the hall for display.
Judging by the numbers of tombs and mummies that the ancient Egyptians left behind, one can be forgiven for thinking that they were obsessed by death. However, this is not so. The Egyptians were obsessed by life and its continuation rather than by a morbid fascination with death.
The tombs, mortuary temples and mummies that they produced were a celebration of life and a means of continuing it for eternity. For the Egyptians, as for other cultures, death was part of the journey of life, with death marking a transition or transformation after which life continued in another form, the spiritual rather than the corporeal.