Sunday, 20 January 2013

A centre of attraction

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, January 19, 2013, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

A centre of attraction
A big day out!
  RICHARD THOMAS heads to the Egypt Centre in Swansea.
WHY? Horror film fans will be familiar with Imhotep, High Priest of the sun God Ra and architect of Ancient Egypt’s first pyramid. At the Egypt Centre at Swansea University visitors can see for themselves a real life Egyptian coffin, as well as other ancient exhibits from the land of the Nile and even buy some replica Egyptian jewellery and art to take home.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Located within the Taliesin building at Swansea University, the Egypt Centre is the only museum of Egyptian antiquities in Wales. The Centre is open to the public and also welcomes school parties and groups from early years, primary and secondary to graduate and post-graduate and special needs students. 
ANY HISTORY? The Egypt Centre opened in 1998, but its roots are much older. Most of the objects in the Centre were part of the collection of the 19th and early 20th century pharmacist and archaeologist Sir Henry Wellcome, who collected them from excavations.
LOOK OUT FOR? There are over 4500 items in the centre's collection. Egypt Centre staff have published over 100 online pages concerning individual items, which you can find on the Egypt Centre website at The funerary items on display in the “House of Death” are one highlight. These include amulets, shrouds, statues, coffins and fragments of coffins, and even canopic jars, which were used by the Ancient Egyptians to store and preserve the internal organs of the deceased for their journey through the afterlife.
WHAT TO TAKE? Admission is free but you might want to visit the Egypt Centre Shop located in the foyer of the museum, where you can buy some keepsakes. Some of the more unusual gifts available include books of Egyptian spells and curses, as well as a wide range of statues, recycled glass, papyrus from Egypt, and exclusive hand-made jewellery. More conventional items like pens, pencils and key-rings are also available to buy. Don't forget to bring a camera with you.
WHEN TO GO? The Egypt Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. After your visit to the Egypt Centre head to Swansea Museum's main building next door to the LC2 on Victoria Road, where you can see their fantastic Egyptian mummy.
TELL ME MORE: For sat-nav users the full address and postcode isEgypt Centre, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP. To book a group visit call 01792 295960 or email the assistant curator Wendy Goodridge at