Thank God it’s Friday

Posted on December 5, 2014

The Treasury of Egypt: The Revival of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

A Swedish journalist working as correspondent in Cairo, Egypt, wrote me today (I am usually writing this column on Thursday evenings): “… one of the things I find extra fascinating about the Egyptian Museum is that you can actually walk around the museum with a guidebook from 1967!!! You’ll find things in the exact same spot it was almost 50 years ago.” “Retro” is chic, so one could think that a Museum capsuled in time 50 years ago might be the hippest and coolest place to go. The Swedish journalist, however, nailed the problem: Not much has been done in the past decades to preserve and to improve this beautiful landmark museum, which opened in 1902.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo
© Sandro Vannini

In my last week’s blog, I stated that the British Museum in London is my personal favorite museum. Nevertheless, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo should be my favorite museum, not only because it is the home of Tutankhamun’s burial treasure (as you know we maintain a long-lasting and deep relationship with the Golden King), but also because the museum houses thousands of wonders. And not just that, but the Egyptian museum is one of the very first museums in the world which was actually built purposely to be a museum.

The people who are working in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are doing their best, but are limited in their possibilities: the building and its technical services are in urgent need of renovation, and gravely lacking financial resources for conservation, research and displays. A marketing concept and international exchange are needed, as well as a modern ticketing system, a website, a shop and a café and a membership program.

I cannot call the Egyptian Museum in Cairo “my favorite museum”. Yet.

There is a little silver lining however, an initiative that we are sponsoring together with other partners: The Revival of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The inauguration of the Initiation Zone in the East Wing of the Tutankhamun Gallery, on Monday 15th of December 2014, 10 am, will take place in the presence of H.E. Eng. Ibrahim Mahlab, the Prime Minister of Egypt, Prof. Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty, Minister of Antiquities and Prof. Dr. Galal Said, Governor of Cairo. The Revival of the Egyptian Museum Initiative is dedicated to defining the future role of the Egyptian Museum within the local and international museum landscape, and giving it the credit it has long deserved. This initiative was instigated in May 2012, with aims to study the museum’s existing conditions and develop a practicable plan for its full rehabilitation. SC Exhibitions supported the renovation of skylight hall no. 35 and as well as a yearbook , a website and the upcoming inauguration event in Cairo.

Why we support the Revival Initiative: For many decades, large swathes of the public people have been captivated by the treasures of Ancient Egypt; treasures that have travelled the world in exhibitions and have been shown in TV documentaries, films and books. Egypt has always enjoyed great popularity as a destination for expeditions, and as a magnet for cultural explorers and holidaymakers. Egypt has been in the public eye ever since the beginning of the political and social upheaval in the spring of 2011, and it occupies a special position in our imagination due to its rich history and the country’s complex role as a cultural link between the West and the Arab world. At the same time there is turmoil in Egypt’s economy and tourism sector. The spheres of politics, the economy and the tourism industry, as well as museums, curators, artists and the media must now actively lend a hand and set standards. Because we believe that only with a strong economy and spirited cultural relations throughout the world can the democratic process in Egypt continue to succeed.

The treasure of Tutankhamun’s tomb is one of the most important discoveries in archaeology. Our exhibition “Tutankhamun – His Tomb and His Treasures” uses hundreds of replicas and scenes in an educational and entertaining way to provide an overview of the historic moment and story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the treasures in 1922. In addition to exhibiting the original relics from the tomb, our exhibition is the world’s first serious attempt at an integrated presentation of the topic using replicas. We maintain an active cultural and economic exchange with Egypt, and are proud to support the revival initiative – and we are very happy that our “replica King Tut” is able to support the home of the “real King Tut”, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

We will attend the event in Cairo with journalists from Germany. Please visit the website and read the digital version of the Revival Initiatives’ Yearbook 2014, which we created with an Egyptian editorial and design team. I invite you to follow the initiative on Twitter or to stay updated on our activities.

In a few years from now I will come with my family to Cairo and will say: This is my favorite museum.

Until then: Visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It is the old-fashioned treasury of Egypt, and it is very charming. Visit Egypt – the museums, Alexandria, the Valley of the Kings, the Nile, because Egypt is the lens through which we can see our civilization with the eyes of past generations.

Best wishes for the weekend!

Yours, Christoph Scholz

A look at the renovated Tutankhamun Gallery
© Sandro Vannini


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