200 years after the first objects entered the collection in 1819, the ancient Egypt gallery at the National Museum of Scotland re-opened on February 8, 2019. This lecture will discuss the curatorial work of planning and designing the new gallery. The Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery presents the remarkable breadth of ancient Egyptian history, highlighting Egypt’s interactions with other ancient cultures, as well as the stories of individual people, to give a sense of their personal lives. The gallery also examines the archaeologists and collectors who brought the objects to Scotland and contributed to the development of Egyptology. Highlight objects include several internationally important assemblages, such as the Rhind tomb group, from the first systematically excavated ancient Egyptian tomb, the Qurna burial, the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt, and a unique Roman-era double coffin of two half-brothers, Petamun and Penhorpabik.
Dr Margaret Maitland received her Hon. B.A in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. in Egyptology from the University of Oxford. She is a former trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society. She has worked previously as a trainee Egyptology curator in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum as part of their Future Curators programme, where she helped curate the UK touring exhibition ‘Pharaoh: King of Egypt’. She also worked with the Egyptian collection at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and helped curate their exhibition ‘Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past’. Margaret has carried out fieldwork in the Middle Kingdom tomb-chapels of Middle Egypt, the Ramesside town and temple site of Kom Firin, the Tell Madaba Archaeological Project in Jordan and at Tell el-Masha’la in the Eastern Delta in Egypt. In 2012, she was appointed Curator of the Ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland, where she curates the Ancient Mediterranean collections, including archaeology from ancient Egypt and Sudan, the Near East and Cyprus, and the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome.