The Egyptian Museum | Raneen Kiresh, ITP 2017

Written by Raneen Kiresh, Public Programmes and Exhibitions Coordinator, The Palestinian Museum (ITP Fellow 2017)

What can be better than starting the year at one of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities?

The impressive pink-toned building located right next to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, one block over from the Nile River downtown, was the first thing to capture my eye. Inside that great building are over 100 halls of artefacts from the prehistoric era to the Greco-Roman period – amazing treasures of Tutankhamun and other great pharaohs.

I went directly to the Registration, Collection Management and Documentation Department where I met Norhan (Noor) Hassan Salem, (ITP Fellow 2017) who introduced me to her colleagues and their work. On our way outside to meet Heba Khairy (ITP Fellow 2017), who works at the Grand Egyptian Museum, we were lucky to bump into Asmaa El-Rabat (ITP Fellow 2014). We had a quick chat about each other’s field of work and the 2014 Palestinian and Egyptian ITP fellows.

I caught up with Heba and Noor in the museum’s front courtyard and remembered the old good days at the British Museum and our memories at Schafer House. Then I headed with them to explore the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world!

Heba, Raneen, Noor

Heba Khairy, Raneen Kiresh and Noor Hassan Salem

I was so overwhelmed with the fabulous extensive treasures of King Tutankhamun, the huge collection of carved hieroglyphic stone and the countless Egyptian artefacts.
Noor and Heba showed me around, providing rich information about Egyptian history and the treasures inside the building. They showed me the magnificent gold mask of Tutankhamun and the Royal Mummies room, where a special collection of mummies of a well-known pharaohs such as Ramses II is displayed. I was amazed at how well preserved their features are through the ancient art of mummification.

At the end of the visit, I had the opportunity to meet up with a couple of Noor and Heba’s colleagues. One of them was Asma Ahmed, Curator and Head of the Museum’s public programmes. Asma was so friendly: she explained to me how they develop and run their public programmes and the future plans they’re working on. I also had the opportunity briefly to talk about The Palestinian Museum, its current exhibition Jerusalem Lives, future exhibitions and how we develop and run our public and education programmes.

My visit to the Egyptian Museum was unforgettable, not only because I learned a lot about Egyptian history, but also because I had the opportunity to catch up with the ladies, get inspired by their energy and see how their work is progressing.

Thank you Heba Khairy and Noor Hassan Salem for your time, effort and generosity.