ITP Diary 09th September 2014: Alaa Bakeer
A nice day in Birmingham, with a wonderful weather. This is our last week in the UK, and the count down begins, few days to return to our countries after spending the most wonderful days in the United Kingdom; those days unfortunately passed very quickly, I still remember the first day I came in as it was few hours ago. Of coincidence, just like my previous blog day which was in the conservation centre (WCEC(, today, after gathering in front of Birmingham museum and art gallery BMAG, we went to the conservation department inside the museum, where we met Ciaran and pieta (conservators) whom gave us an introduction to the collections care and conservation department by having a look at some objects which they are working on like an Egyptian mummy for a man and a chair which one of the visitors had a sit on, then we had an explanation of the x-ray and XRF machines, where one of these machines used primarily for analyzing metals and ceramics and the conservator can identify the materials resulted in a test depending on the periodic table of the elements, and another one for organic materials, and they showed us the laser machine which is used for cleaning dust and carbonate layer which is formed on copper.
After lunch we took a taxi to Soho House, one of Birmingham Museums Trust, which was the elegant home of industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809, actually he was a founding member of the Lunar Society, a group of great thinkers and inventors who met regularly at his home Soho House, We had a tour in this fashionable Georgian house features period room interiors with fine collections of silver, furniture and paintings, and one of the important things to know that Soho house had the first under floor heating system! Where there was a stove in the lower cellar heated air which was then circulated around the building by convection.
When we finished our visit, two of us and Adam (curator, BM Trust and the person whom is responsible of our group) decided to go back walking, so we had the chance to enjoy exploring more of Birmingham city, we went through soho road which is in a district includes primarily Pakistanis and Indian population, we have seen there a lot of Indian shops and restaurants, and on our way we saw a Sikh temple which is considered the largest one all over Europe, and after that we have seen a Methodist church and a minutes after we found cemeteries then we saw a mosque, actually it is wonderful to find different places of worships for different religions and beliefs engaged at the same district close to each other.
Later began the most wonderful part in the day as we met Adam and took the train to have a dinner at his house in Canley with his respectable and kind parents whom welcomed us and treated us like if we are their daughters with a lot of care and kindness, we got into the nice garden and met their nice cat! And had a wonderful dinner with various and delicious dishes, and the most wonderful for me this warm feelings I felt in this house with this pure family, really I cannot express the extent of my gratitude and appreciation for them.
At the end we said bye-bye to them, this moment which reminded me that we are about to say bye-bye UK bye-bye ITP, I still cannot realize or imagine that. Hope to spend more time in this wonderful program with those wonderful people whom will remain in my memory for my whole life…
Alaa Bakeer, Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.