From the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Great Wall of China

Wesam Mohamed

Registrar, Egypt Documentation Project

ITP 2015

During the last month I participated in a training workshop which was held from 11 to 19 April, 2016 at the Palace Museum, Beijing, China, by the ICOM International Training Center for Museum Studies (ICOM-ITC). The ICOM-ITC was established in 2013 as a joint collaboration between the Palace Museum, ICOM and ICOM China. It is based on the purposes, missions and shared professional goals of ICOM and its Chinese national committee and it relies on the Palace Museum for its operation and management.


During the visit to the Great Wall of China. Images author’s own.

The ICOM-ITC holds two workshops each year, one in April and one in November. Each workshop is on a different museum topic. The theme of this workshop was “Current Practices in Museum Management.”


Training session “reading artifacts”. Images author’s own.

Eight museum experts and professors from America, Belgium, Canada, China, France and New Zealand were invited as lecturers at the workshop. Thirty participants were admitted, half from China and half from other countries. The international participants were from fourteen countries and three continents: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Tunisia and Vietnam.

The workshop included a variety of lectures, group activities, case studies, mini workshops, museum visits and artefact reading sessions. We visited local museums as well as the Palace Museum, which gave us the opportunity to learn about the practices of Chinese museums.


A visit to the Geological Museum of China, with Tracy Puklowski, Director of National Army Museum, New Zealand. Images author’s own.

As an example of the kinds of things we did during the programme; I participated in a mini workshop titled “Making the right decision”, which was very practical and effective in learning how to work through conflicts. In this mini workshop I was acting as Maria: the Italian Anthropologist who is responsible for the scientific content of a museum under construction !



Studying mini-cases for decision making workshop. Images author’s own.

The workshop resulted in many benefits; from sharing knowledge to improving skills and from intercultural dialogue to international friendships, as well as valuable contacts with other participants and lecturers. Moreover, it was my pleasure to attend the graduation ceremony wearing a Chinese traditional dress!


Holding our certificates at the graduation ceremony. Images author’s own

Finally, I was so happy to have another chance to meet my Chinese colleagues Liu Shuzheng and ChenChen Hou from the 2015 ITP. We spent a great time together exploring Turkish food and music in Beijing.


Meeting Liu Shuzeng and ChenChen Hou in Beijing. Images author’s own.

Traditionally in Egypt, China is considered the farthest away area in the world. Now, after this experience, I keep thinking how close we really are!