Thursday, 20 December 2012

Egyptian Museum, Cairo: Broken Windows to be Repaired - Official

It has just been announced that the broken windows in the roof of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo will be repaired (Nevine El-Aref, 'Cairo's landmark Egyptian Museum to receive facelift', Monday 17 Dec 2012)
Following a brief inspection of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square on Sunday, Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim gave the go-ahead for a long-awaited initiative aimed at developing the famous museum. Egyptian Museum Director Salwa Abdel-Rahman said the development project would be completed in three phases. [...] Ibrahim told Ahram Online that financing for the project's first phase would be provided by the Association of Lovers of the Egyptian Museum and not from the ministry's budget. He added that the three phases of the planned development project would be carried out one after another until their final completion in 2015.
Frankly, I think that Museum deserves more than a "brief inspection". Readers might recall the story that thieves reputedly broke into the Museum on Jan 28th 2011 through one of these windows, a window that as I reported here, I found intact (and not only that, but grime-encrusted) when I visited the museum a few weeks later. I suppose the inference if that if this is true would be that they pretty quickly replaced that one window and left the rest. Frankly I do not believe a word of it. Also note that although the money is not coming from the State budget (and why not?), the poor Director (replacing the hapless Tarek El-Awady) gets to mumble a few words and is then pushed aside by the Minister who announces how Abdel-Rahman will be spending the Friends' money. It seems old habits die hard, even in post-"Revolutionary" Egypt.

Also, is it not rather odd that they are now (only now) announcing spending money on an aeons-overdue tarting-up of the old Museum which is supposed to finish at about the same time as the two planned museums to house some of the objects from it were supposed to be being completed? Is the next announcement going to be that the plans for these two new showcases of Egyptian culture are on hold?

When are they going to re-open the Egyptian Museum's excellent book/giftshop?


1 comment:

Thutmose said...

I'll have a look at the windows when I am there in March. I will be pleasantly surprised if they have been repaired, much less cleaned. But, there was an update in the Royal Mummy rooms between my last two visits so maybe they will follow through.

I also thought it was odd that they were announcing this when the GEM is supposed to be finished. I would be willing to bet that the GEM timetable is slipping by years. But if they can do some repairs in the current Egyptian Museum, then people can enjoy it more.

One thing about this process that I have been concerned about is the GEM falling behind in its schedule yet someone at the Egyptian Museum packs up displays in crates and puts them in storage waiting on the new museum's completion. I think this has to be avoided at all costs because this is when things can disappear, especially if they aren't in the public eye for months or even perhaps years.

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