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‘Pharaoh: King of Egypt’ Exhibition

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Great North Museum: Hancock   |   Country: United Kingdom   |   Year: 2011

Pharaoh: King of Egypt is a touring exhibition featuring highlights from the British Museum’s superb collection of ancient Egyptian objects. The exhibition is the largest UK loan of Egyptian artefacts ever undertaken by the British Museum and includes wonderful examples of sculpture, jewellery, palace ornamentation, papyri and funerary objects.

This touring exhibition was developed in a partnership between Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums and the British Museum. More than 130 objects, some never before seen outside London, were chosen to explore the myths and realities of kingship in ancient Egypt.

Exhibition concept illustrations

Egyptian style exhibition gateway 'Pylon' renders

The exhibition featured an enormous, Egyptian styled archway or ‘pylon’ which served as a gateway to the exhibition. Made to be easily demountable for touring, this 4.2m tall by 6m wide sandstone-effect modular build featured a CNC-routed pattern based on designs found on genuine Egyptian pylons. On the rear, darker side of the pylon, a subtly-animated Egyptian tableau effect was created using hidden, high-resolution projectors.

'Pylon' front view with CNC-routed motif

The exhibition layout was designed around the principles of ‘areas of affinity’ and scaling clusters. This allows visitors to make immediate visual connections between exhibits, compare them directly and follow a thread of exploration from one area to another...

Exhibition Floorplan

Traditionally in exhibitions, a single path ensures that all visitors have similar experiences, encountering the same succession of exhibits in a preconceived fashion. But single path displays are by definition regimented and linear, often involving visitor management complications compounded by visitor dwell-times.


Designing around multiple paths cause fewer traffic-management problems as visitors can select alternative exhibits to engage with when a particular area is busy. This approach also allows for greater freedom, and provides visitors with the ability to follow their own interests and preoccupations. Multiple paths provide a wide range of potentially themed visits, alternative routes throughout the displays can be devised, and different groups (including guided) who are interested in different subjects can take separate paths.

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