THE transformation of Bolton Museum to showcase its Ancient Egyptian treasures in a new multi-million pound gallery will start in December.

Exhibitions and collections will be moved downstairs for visitors to enjoy while the upstairs is closed during the work.

The new gallery Eternal Egypt will be built in the museum's current art gallery, history centre and temporary exhibition gallery.

The centre piece will be the reproduction of the burial chamber of Thutmose III and the gallery will depict Bolton’s important links to ancient Egypt in a family-friendly and interactive exhibition.

The museum — which is situated on the top floor of the building — will be closed to the public for the duration of the £3.5 million project.

The main closure will come into effect on Thursday, December 1, although the History Centre will close on Sunday, October 23.

History Centre services will reopen in its new home in Central Library on the ground floor on Monday, November 28.

School visits to the museum will continue to operate while the work is ongoing and a new programme of events will be publicised.

Families are invited to the museum’s final Super Saturdays prior to the refurbishment, on October 29 and November 26.

Activities are free from 11am to 3.30pm.

Visitors to the museum will be able to continue to enjoy exhibitions during the refurbishment in two new galleries to be created on the lower ground floor, next to the aquarium which will be open as normal.

An Animals and Us exhibition will be created in Lecture Theatre Two and feature a broad selection of the museum collections. The exhibition, opening on Saturday, December 3, will show how animals feature in all aspects of our lives, including religion, sport, entertainment and fashion.

The museum’s art collection will be represented in a new exhibition, also on the lower ground floor, to open on Saturday, December 10.

Entitled Making Landscape, the exhibition will feature a selection from 1778 – 2016, including stunning 18th century watercolours to contemporary photographs.

Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of the council, said: "As one of the top tourist attractions in Greater Manchester, the museum is extremely popular with young and old alike so we’ve put a lot of thought into how we can maintain visitors’ interest during the refurbishment.

"As well as two new exhibitions, there’ll be a whole programme of family-friendly activities incorporating some fresh ideas. There will undoubtedly be a period of disruption but it will be well worth it.

"The project will enable us to undertake essential maintenance work at the same time as creating an exciting new Egyptology for future generations to enjoy."

The museum is due to reopen to the public in 2018.

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