A must-see array of ancient Egyptian artefacts to ‘unlock the mystery of ancient Egypt’ are now in Lisburn Museum- courtesy of the British Museum.

For the first time in Lisburn you can explore the incredible story of the international race to decipher hieroglyphs in A British Museum Touring Exhibition Egyptian hieroglyphs: unlock the mystery at the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum (28 June -12 October 2023).

As part of a family day out or after a trip to the shops, be sure to call in and view nine ancient Egyptian artefacts from the British Museum’s collection. They include: an extract from the Book of the Dead, belonging to the priestess Nestanebetisheru; and a 3,000-year old limestone lintel revealing the name of Pharaoh Ramses III.

Join us on a journey to unearth the central role hieroglyphs played in the life and afterlife of the ancient Egyptians. This free family-friendly exhibition guides visitors through the story of decipherment using video, games, interactives displays and a replica of the famous Rosetta Stone.

You can also explore a series of themed displays throughout the galleries looking at Lisburn’s Egyptian links. Check out some linen from Tutankhamun’s tomb and discover the links between Lisburn, the Rosetta Stone and Napoleon. There will also be a chance to view Egyptian figures collected by a local linen family –the Hills.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “The British Museum’s new touring exhibition Egyptian hieroglyphs: unlock the mystery is one of the many ways we share the collection and our knowledge throughout the UK.

“We are committed to working with a wide range of partnership museums and galleries to create a positive educational, social and economic impact. Last year the Museum lent over 1,000 objects to 95 venues outside London, which benefited over three million visitors.”

To complement the exhibition, Lisburn Museum has developed 21 exciting family-friendly workshops, a self-guided trails and a dedicated schools programme.  

Councillor Thomas Beckett, Communities & Wellbeing Chairman at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Committee attended the official opening and said: “We are delighted our Museum has partnered with the British Museum to bring this incredible exhibition to Lisburn & Castlereagh. It is fantastic to be 1 of only 3 UK venues to host this British Museum Touring Exhibition.

“We’d encourage adults and children alike - from our area and further afield - to visit this blockbuster display. Following the Museum’s special trail, you can decipher hidden hieroglyphs, ‘crack the code’ and earn your own code-breaking badge. 

“You can also explore life and death in ancient Egypt through a selection of free drop-in workshops. And those with a more creative flair can make their own pyramid, design a cartouche, Egyptian jewellery or a ‘mummy mask’.”

Ilona Regulski, Curator of Egyptian Written Culture at the British Museum, added: “The decipherment of hieroglyphs 200 years ago marked the turning point in a study that continues to reveal secrets of the past.

“This ground-breaking achievement provided an unprecedented window into the ancient Egyptian people and their way of life. We could suddenly understand the letters they wrote, the shopping lists they hastily created and the rituals they left behind on tomb and temple walls.”

Between June and October, expert speakers will deliver talks about hieroglyphics and Egypt as well as on the life and times of the Egyptian woman Takabuti, whose mummified body is currently on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

Dr Regulski launches Lisburn Museum’s 2023 ancient-Egyptian programmes on 29 June with a talk on how the mystery of the hieroglyphs was solved at 7pm.

To find out more go to www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/egyptian-hieroglyphs


Pictured at a preview of the exhibition with the Limestone lintel of Ramses III are: David Burns, Chief Executive of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; Wendy Hughes; Councillor Thomas Beckett, Communities & Wellbeing Chairman; Ilona Regulski, Curator of Egyptian Written Culture at the British Museum; Pauline Mawhinney; Professor Mike Mawhinney, High Sheriff of County Down and Angela McCann, Head of Communities.