Thursday 17 February 2011

Cairo Museum: The Press see the Restored Museum

Kate Phizackerley has a post on her blog with links to some of the videos that resulted in Hawass' showing the international press on Wednesday that the Cairo Egyptian Museum is returning to normal after the events of two weeks ago ('Videos from Inside the Egyptian Museum'). She has found a Novosti one which is a bit unremarkable.

The BBC one on the other hand is quite interesting especially because of the shot at 0:54 to which Ms Phizackerly draws attention. This is apparently Al Jazeera footage (or stills taken at the same time) and this part of the frame was covered by the breaking news bar at the bottom of the screen in all the Al Jazeera videos I saw at the time. Its the upper part of the 'Tutankhamun standing on a panther' figure, and its position in the case might be the origin of the story that these were used to smash the glass.
The BBC commentrary criticises the museum for its obvious lack of climate control and modern security and asks where all the money raised from access charges has gone. Others are going to be asking that question in the weeks to come.
(Perhaps building a new museum to which all of this stuff will probably be transferred in the near future might be part of the answer). What I found more interesting was the brief shot (0:20 secs) of the fire escape the rooftop thieves are alleged to have used. Its on the southwest corner of the museum. Now this raises a question, how do you get 30+ metres of cable up there with which to climb down? In fact, when you are at the bottom, how do you know you are going to need thirty metres of cable anyway? There must be a door onto the roof which can be broken down. (OK a real burglar might suspect that such a door is alarmed, while there is a chance that the skylights might not be - in fact this could be checked by casing the joint beforehand). A minor point, but with regard some of the more personal things that have been said on various blogs and facebook about the Minister of Antiquities and his involvement, I'd like to draw attention to the shot of the procession of journalists going through the Museum. Who is at the head of them, and who brings up the rear? (Remember that doctored Mubarak in the White House shot?)

Ms Phizackerly also found a wonderful French video. This has two especially interesting bits. Inserted right in the middle are two attractive female conspiracy theorists who obviously do not believe the official story. The first asks who in their right mind would be going out with all those ropes. Something that still puzzles me, doubts not really dispersed by the suggestion that these are ripped-out electrical or Internet cables. The second lady makes a point which sort-of got lost in recent discussions. She observes that the two doors, inner and outer have not been forced, and asks whether some of the people going in had somehow obtained the keys. As Ms Phizackerly reminds us early reports suggested that the museum keys had been "stolen". The Museum Director at 1;34 says "this was the first showcase broken" while standing by the (now reconstructed) Middle Kingdom ship model and soldier figures. Well, that's not what we'd been told before. Confusingly the shots shown at this time also show the (now repaired) Yuya mummy bands, which are housed in a different part of the Museum. On a second look however, you can see that this is a voice-over, and when the film cuts for a second when he's actually speaking these words, the cases in the background appear to be the same as in the CNN video made a few days ago when we are shown the site of the break-in.

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