Monday, 17 May 2021

Fifty Year Anniversary Conference

Regular follows of this blog will be aware that this year represents fifty years since the objects from the Wellcome Collection were transferred to Swansea on long-term loan. This was part of dispersal of the Egyptian material at the Wellcome Collection, which probably amassed somewhere in the region of 20,000 objects. To celebrate this occasion, we will be hosting a conference focusing on Wellcome’s Egyptian and Sudanese collections, which were dispersed to numerous institutions following his death in 1936. This free event is scheduled to take place via Zoom over three days (Wednesday 15th–Friday 17th September), and will feature talks, virtual tours and handling sessions, as well as  other interactive elements. Full details of the event, including the programme, will be released in due course, with some initial details presented below. We are also delighted to officially reveal our new logo to mark this occasion, which was designed by our Events & Development Officer, Rex Wale (fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Logo to celebrate fifty years of the Wellcome collection at Swansea

Before providing the list of speakers, it is useful to give a little background to the dispersal of the Egyptian material. In 1959, David Dixon was appointed as Research Fellow at the Wellcome Institute, tasked with sorting through the Egyptian and Sudanese collection. Most of the material was subsequently transferred into the care of University College London (UCL) and the Petrie Museum in 1964. Due to a lack of space, the Trustees at the Wellcome authorised the distribution of collection, amounting to some 300 crates, between 1969–1971. The Petrie Museum retained some of the objects, while the remainder was distributed between Birmingham Museum (1969), Durham Oriental Museum (1971), Liverpool World Museum (1971), and Swansea (1971). Additional Egyptian material, including casts went to the Ashmolean Museum (1981), Bolton Museum & Art Gallery (1982), the British Museum (1946 & 1956), Fitzwilliam Museum (1981), Horniman Museum (1982), Hunterian Museum (1982), Ipswich Museums (1982), Manchester Museum (1981–1982), and the Science Museum (1980–1982).

While the programme for the event is still a work in progress, speakers include:

  • Rachel Barclay (Curator at Oriental Museum, Durham)
  • Stephanie Boonstra (Collections Manager at the Egypt Exploration Society)
  • Ashley Cooke (Lead Curator of Antiquities, World Museum Liverpool)
  • Alexandra Eveleigh (Collections Information Manager, Wellcome)
  • Carolyn Graves-Brown (Curator at the Egypt Centre)
  • Anna Garnett (Curator of the Petrie Museum)
  • Isabelle Vella Gregory (Deputy Director of the Jebel Moya excavations)
  • Ken Griffin (Collections Access Manager at the Egypt Centre)
  • Ruth Horry (Collections Curator – Exhibitions, Wellcome)
  • Selina Hurley (Curator of Medicine, The Science Museum)
  • Frances Larson (author of An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World)
  • Lee McStein (Technical Director at Monument Men)
  • Campbell Price (Curator of Egypt and Sudan, Manchester Museum)
  • Helen Strudwick (Senior Assistant Keeper - Egyptian Antiquities, The Fitzwilliam Museum)
  • Ian Trumble (Curator of Archaeology, Egyptology and World Cultures, Bolton Museum)
  • Penny Wilson (Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University)

Please save the dates in your diary and keep an eye out for further details about this event and other anniversary related blog posts!

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