ITP 2013 : September 26 – Eileen Musundi

Dear ITP 2013 participants,
Saying farewell to you all on Saturday, I wondered, is it in order to say ITP 2013 has come and gone? Or is it more realistically to say that ITP 2013 has just begun?
I will go for the latter view. Being on the programme, getting to know the British Museum family, the wider partner museums and ultimately the global family is a useful link in the chain of your (museum) life!
Looking through your blog diaries, it shows how quickly new ideas were grasped such as the hands on desks, preventative conservation and education programmes.
Good times were also had by all, like the summer bank weekend where Hadeer, Fawzeia, Mouza and Amani put on a cookery feast for their colleagues, the lovely tea with Frances Carey at Hampstead Heath, looking through the London Eye, connecting with 5000 years of history at Stonehenge, dashing down Birdcage Walk to witness the Changing of the Guard, chillin’ on Brighton beach, tap dancing at Top Hat!

At Stonehenge

At Stonehenge

You had the opportunity to connect directly with areas of your research through the partner museums and exhibitions such as ‘The Afro Comb’ at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the gardens at The Horniman Museum, the collections at The V&A and were given practical advice on security, documentation, fundraising and commercial activities as well as visiting scientists and conservators at work in the studios and stores.
The exhibition proposal project and reception was a chance for your direct contribution to the “museum of the world, for the world”, as Director Neil MacGregor clearly put it in his welcome presentation at the beginning of the programme.
Working relationships and friendships were built over the last six weeks and you all got to know more about your diverse countries. I hope you all remember the afternoon evaluation session we spent getting to know each other better!!

locating countries on the world map

Locating countries on the world map

Question – What things did you know about your colleague’s country before coming to the ITP?
Turkey: Geography, architecture, people
Libya: Recent news, small population, oil
Kenya: Safari, Kiswahili language
Sudan: Most pyramids, gave birth to the newest nation, South Sudan
Palestine: Archaeology, has three states
Uganda: Geography, good world ties
China: Chopsticks, ceramics, festivals
Egypt: Pyramids and mummies, recent news
Oman: Civilization going back 8000BC
India: Dance movies, Mahatma Ghandi

Question – What things have you discovered after talking to them?
Turkey: Rich in oil, friendly people
Libya: Most women do not smoke!
Kenya: Diverse cultures and traditions, lots of hair!
Sudan: Meroe, more pyramids
Palestine: Good organization of archaeology and museums, world wide ties to cultural institutions
Uganda: Most beautiful country-Pearl of Africa, 61 ethnic groups
China: 1.3 billion people, Mandarin is the official language
Egypt: Coptic religion and art, importance of the Nile
Oman: Rich heritage and culture, beautiful landscapes
India: 29 states with own traditions and language, common language English and Hindi

Questions – What are their country’s contribution to World Heritage?
Turkey: Old city of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia
Libya: Cyrene, Leptis Magna
Kenya: Wildlife, Indigenous people
Sudan: Meroe, The meeting of the two Niles
Palestine: Bethlehem, Jerusalem
Uganda: Kasubi Royal tombs, Mountain Gorilla national park
China: Ancient City of Ping Yao, Longmen Grottoes
Egypt: Pyramids of Giza, Nile Civilization, Tutankhamun’s treasure
Oman: Bahla Fort, Land of Frankincense
India: Taj Mahal, the Crown Jewels’ Kohinoor Diamond

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours,
Kwaheri ya kuonana – Goodbye till we meet again.
Eileen Musundi