Egyptian Experience for Serbian Museums

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The invaluable heritage held within the Serbian National Museum has been seen by great Egyptian experts and museologists.

In late June, two eminent Egyptian museologists, directors of two famous Egyptian museums visited Serbia to celebrate the long-awaited reopening of the National Museum in Belgrade. We used the opportunity to interview them about the experience they acquired in their work with the invaluable Egyptian civilisation preservation.

Dr. Mahrous Said Mahrous Mousa, General director of National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC)

  1. Many people still have to learn that the Egypt is a multi-layered society with strong influence of Ancient Egyptian, Coptic Christian, Arab and more widely Islamic culture. How do you manage to present all these layers to the world?

The National Museum Of Egyptian Civilizatin (NMEC) project, which I supervise, deals with all the layers of civilization that Egypt brought to humanity from ancient times till the modern period. Through this project and others, we devote a special Museum to focus on each of these eras, such as the Egyptian museum , the Grand Egyptian Museum, talking about pharaonic and greco-roman, the Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, the Coptic Museum, Islamic Museum , and so on. The concept of NMEC is to feature Ancient Egyptian civilization as well as the modern one, in order to show the visitor a holistic vision about EGYPT, while making the connection between these diverse epochs and eras in order to clarify the current composition of the ‘fabric’ of the society and its interlinking bonds. The current temporary gallery of NMEC, which opened on 15/2/2017, shows crafts from different ages, the pottery, textile , wood and jewelery. I am happy to announce that soon, there will be three new galleries opened on a permanent basis: these are the Core Gallery, the Mummies Gallery and the Capital Museum Gallery, which are supposed to be completed by the end of this year, 2018.

Egypt past some tumulous moment in the last 7 years. Did it influence the work of promotion of Egypt with some hardships and what do you do to overcome them?

The past 7 years have been challenging, especially for Museums since the number of visitors has gone down. However, in the Ministry of Antiquities, we tried to make several promotions to encourage new visitors. These promotions included keeping the museums open in the afternoons, validating tickets for multiple visits in one day. These promotions succeeded in increasing the income as well as the number of visitors.

What can we learn from you and what do you think you can learn from the world in terms of museological work and promotion?

As an architect, I am responsible for the museum project until it officially opens soon in a permanent way. I am working on different facilities that are needed to make the visitors more interested and engaged, learn and know in an easy way about the Egyptian civilization and to keep and preserve the objects in an appropriate and secured way, while applying modern techniques to achieve all that. We invite you to visit National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is available at Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nmec.gov.eg/

Do you use new media and techniques in the promotion?

We have a large gallery that depends on multimedia completely (the Capital Museum). We have also several distributed multimedia works spread around the galleries.

What do you plan to do in the feature in promotion of Egyptian art from your museum and other museums you coordinate?

We always do all our bests to keep the Museum connected up to date with the counterpart museums all over the world by exchanging visits, concluding agreements, training the teams to be able to deal with the objects, visitors and facilities. We look forward to doing so with ounterpart institutions in Serbia.

Dr. Sabah Abdel Razek Seddik Kassem, General Director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Did the fact that you were born and raised in Giza, with all of the archaeological treasures there, incline you towards the old art, antiquities and Egyptian history?

I was born in Cairo and raised in Giza, so I was close to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and many archaeological sites in Giza, especially the Pyramids. This made me admire the history of Egypt since my earliest years in school. I started to study ancient Egyptian history and archaeology in detail in the Faculty of Archaeology.

As a woman leading the top Egyptian museum, and in the changing environment during your impressive career, how do you estimate the climate towards ancient art and history?

In our country there is no difference if the head of an institution is a man or a woman. What is most important is that you know your institution very well and that you overcome the challenges facing you. We have all the support from the government to feature ancient Egyptian art.

Egyptian art is almost universally loved in the world. Does it make your job of presenting it easier?

Of course this makes my job easier to present it to the thousands of visitors that come every day to the museum to admire the ancient Egyptian artifacts.

What are the main difficulties in your work nowadays?

The main difficulties facing the museum are funding, improving the displays, and getting new technology to facilitate visits in the museum. We are making major changes in relocating objects within our museum and to other museums in the country.

What can we learn from you and what do you think you can learn from the world in terms of museological work and promotion?

We are always happy to share different aspects of museum work including the registration of objects and how we can preserve the heritage identity of the museum. We are also happy to earn from the world new methods for displaying museum objects and new technologies to promote activities of the museum.

Do you use new media and techniques in the promotion?

We have a Facebook page for the museum and a Twitter account to promote the museum.

We invite you to visit it at https://www.facebook.com/EgyptianMuseumCairo/

What do you plan to do in the future to promote Egyptian art?

By our Facebook page and other social media, we are getting more followers. We are also present on pages that have millions of followers, to display the masterpieces of the museum, the events, and the different activities in the museum.

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