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UCL's Petrie Museum wins Classic Award at Museums & Heritage Show

20 February 2006

UCL's Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has been awarded the Classic Award at the Museum & Heritage Awards for Excellence 2005. Created by The Museums & Heritage Show, the Awards recognize and celebrate best practice within museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions.

The Classic Award is awarded for 'a museum that has been open for ten years or more, and that has continued to develop year on year ensuring it remains as relevant and interesting to target audiences as on the day it opened.' The awards were made by a panel of industry professionals, and announced by Sophie Raworth of BBC TV in a ceremony today at the Café Royal in London .

Hugh Kilmister, acting manager of the museum, said: "The nomination is tremendously important recognition for us of the work we've been doing, especially developing our online presence and our outreach work with Egyptians and other people of A frican descent. While as a university museum it is obviously vital for us to continue serving an academic audience, this is an appreciation of the work that my colleagues have been doing to make the museum more widely relevant in the community."

Created in 1892, the Petrie Museum - named in honour of Professor William Flinders Petrie, UCL's first Professor of Archaeology - houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods to the Islamic period.

With the help of government funding, the museum has made the entire collection accessible in an online catalogue and conducts a number of outreach activities for the public and schoolchildren. The museum has also created 'Digital Egypt', an extensive resource for universities in collaboration with UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis.

Only around 10% of the collection is currently on display due to cramped and poor quality conditions. It is planned that the entire collection will be re-housed in a new development, UCL's Panopticon. Mr Kilmister said: "The nomination is a particularly timely endorsement of our audience development strategy in the planning of the Panopticon, where from 2009 we will be welcoming a significantly larger and more diverse audience."