Campbell, Steph and I found out just before Christmas that Gifts for the Gods had been nominated for a CityLife Award for Best Exhibition of 2015. This in itself was a big deal for us. This was the first exhibition to focus solely on animal mummies (from excavation to scientific study) to take place in the UK; the first exhibition to feature home-grown Manchester research; the first touring exhibition designed at Manchester Museum in over 30 years and, well, quite frankly the best exhibition ever to be held there (apologies to all our museum colleagues who might beg to differ!). It was also the first exhibition that we had been involved in the design and curation of, so aside from being an amazing experience, it has been a steep learning curve!
The exhibition has been terrifically well-attended by visitors from around the world. The comments book shows a range of responses, in a variety of languages, all overwhelmingly positive, ranging from parents with toddlers to school teachers, academics, students and complete newbies to the field (‘I never knew the Egyptians mummified animals!’). We have been astounded by the level of feedback and how visitors have embraced the subject by leaving their own votive messages to their chosen god using our votive interactive. The office is now swimming in plastic bags full of the response cards and we are looking forward to sifting through to see what it is that our visitors asked the gods for. It seems that pleas for help or offers of thanks given to an unseen being are just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.
Last week we heard that we had actually won the award for Best Exhibition with an amazing 38% of the votes! You can read the official article here – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/animal-mummies-wins-citylife-awards-10697033#ICID=sharebar_twitter. Thanks to everyone who voted and who has visited the exhibition and left us feedback. Those of you who haven’t managed to come along yet, don’t worry, there is still plenty of time as it is on at Manchester Museum until mid April. After that it will open in Glasgow mid May and Liverpool in the autumn.
Now all we need is a new sticker to put on the door……..