Since its inception the Friends have supported many projects within the Museum which have been of benefit not just to the collection itself but to its value as a study resource for scholars:
Conserving the Dynasty XXI painted coffin base, object number UC8899A, which is now exhibited with its lid in the Petrie Museum. This was the first object conserved after the formation of the Friends.
Making 35mm copies of the thousands of large format glass slides which are a priceless and irreplaceable record of archaeological sites and material. Producing a CD ROM of Petrie’s manuscript journals, notebooks and distribution lists which were previously only available to scholars on expensive microfiche.
Conserving a bead net dress, UC17743, one of only two known in the world, which forms one of the centrepieces of the Museum’s collection, and which has proved to be a popular exhibit.
The Friends support was instrumental in the construction of a new Papyrus Gallery in the Petrie Museum named in honour of our founding and former President, Harry S. Smith, which he opened on June 11 1998. Since then the Friends have paid for a display case for one of the museum’s finest coffins. They have also funded an internship to train a papyrus conservator to work on the Petrie Museum’s extensive papyrus collection.
Other priorities for the Friends have been:
• preparation of a fully illustrated colour catalogue of the mummy portraits
• conservation of demotic and funerary papyri and scenes on linen for future display in the new H.S. Smith Papyrus Gallery
• specialised conservation of the large collection of cartonnage masks and foot pieces held in the Museum
One of the Friends’ major long-term projects has been the conservation of the outstanding collection of Graeco-Roman wax encaustic mummy portraits held by the Museum. This project is now complete and many of the portraits were loaned for use in the British Museum’s Ancient Faces exhibition which then went on to be exhibited in Rome, Heraklion, Athens, Thessaloniki, Paris, and Frankfurt, see Friends Newsletter 1 & 3.
In 2007 the Friends have made substantial contributions towards conservation projects in preparation for relocating the museum to a new building, including remounting parts of the stored collection, rehousing the photographic archive and a specialist condition survey of the stone inscriptions.
Since the inception of the Friends in 1988, its achievements have been magnificent and have truly shown what a group of dedicated supporters can do to help a small museum with a very large collection.