To mark World Museums Day (WMD) today Monday 18 May, all museums in Egypt were open for Egyptians free of charge. The Ministry of Antiquities held special activities in a number of museums nationwide to celebrate the day. The aim was to shed light on the importance of museums and raise awareness of their role in furthering culture and community development.
From museum to museological institution
This morning saw Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damaty participate in a WMD celebration at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC). A plethora of public figures were on hand to mark the occasion, and Dr Damaty honoured museum curators who he said earned the honour for diligence and creativity in their work, exerting exceptional efforts to transform their museums into museological institutes beyond presenting Egypt’s heritage. These museums were the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo, the Luxor Museum, and the New Valley Museum in Kharga Oasis.
The International Committee of Museums – Egypt (ICOM) awarded the incentive sum of EGP3,000 to the restoration departments of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the NMEC, the Alexandria National Museum, Suez Museum, and the Museum of Modern Arts.
At the National Museums of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), the Ministry of Antiquities celebrated World Museum Day through a seminar on the latest museological techniques and training.
Temporary exhibitions were held in several museums, among them the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo, The Suez Museum and the Luxor Museum. According to Elham Salah, head of the museums sector in the Antiquities Ministry, these exhibitions are to bring to the fore the aim of this year’s celebration: “Museums for a sustainable community”.
Ms Salah explained that the title underlines how Egyptians since the Pharaonic age through to modern times look forward to sustainable stability based on reason, science and creation.
Special teams from the museums sector in the Antiquities Ministry have headed to cultural palaces and sports and social clubs to promote the culture of the importance and interest that can be derived from a visit to any of them.
Tutankhamun welcomes visitors
The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir welcomed this day’s visitors with a replica of Tutankhamun’s mummy on show in the museum garden.
A documentary was screened showing the restoration works carried out on several objects in the museum. Flyers were handed to visitors to acquaint them with various aspects of ancient Egyptian life, such as the different professions in ancient Egypt and the secrets of the language. A musical and a puppet show were presented, both inspired by ancient Egypt. But perhaps the most moving was a presentation on the Egyptian Museum’s school for the visually impaired and the communal services the museum offers.
Yasmine al-Shazly, assistant to the Minister of Antiquities for museums, says that documentaries have been screened on large panoramic screens in a number of Egyptian museums highlighting the history of each. The documentaries were produced in collaboration with CULTNAT (the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage), affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Culturama is a cultural panorama over nine screens, the first ever patented nine-projector interactive system. It is an innovative harmonised mix of cultural and natural heritage information, using an informative and attractive multimedia programme and the latest display technology.
Also within the activities of the WMD as celebrated by the Ministry of Antiquities, the Children’s Museum presented for the first time entertainment and interactive games for children, to offer them archaeological information in an appealing way. The basic facts are passed to the children through screens with remote sensors, thus help root the information in the minds of the children, creating rapport between the children and the antiquities about which they are learning.
Again, a replica of Tutankhamun’s mummy was on display in the Children’s Museum garden. A workshop taught children all about mummification.
18 May 2015