Cultural exchange United Kingdom

Eton’s Egyptology shared by Birmingham and Baltimore

The prestigious British school's collection of antiquities are on show in the US as part of a 15-year loan

Some of the works lent by Eton, from top left: Statuette of Thoth, Late Period, mummy burial mask made of gilded cartonnage, and a wooden model of a rowing boat (detail)

LONDON. Eton College’s Egyptian antiquities have just gone on show at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham as part of a 15-year loan. “Sacred and Profane: Treasures of Ancient Egypt” is a temporary exhibition of 80 of the finest pieces of the Myers collection, running until next January.

The collection was assembled by Major William Myers, who served in Egypt and bequeathed his antiquities to Eton in 1899.

Eton, Britain’s most exclusive independent school, located in Windsor, has been unable to display the objects in recent years. In an unusual arrangement, it is lending most of the 2,500 antiquities to two institutions, the Barber Institute (part of the University of Birming­ham) and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, which will catalogue, scan, conserve and display them.

Most of the items on show at the Barber Institute will go to Johns Hopkins after the exhibition, although 500 will remain behind in Birmingham for study. At Johns Hopkins, a benefactor is donating an annual fee of $50,000 a year to help establish an endowment to care for the Myers collection on its return to Eton. In the meantime, there will be a permanent display of highlights in the university’s Gilman Hall in Baltimore, where there is an archaeological museum. The Myers display opens at Johns Hopkins in October.

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