Claire and Becca at the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Written by Rebecca Horton, International Training Programme Coordinator

The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo reopened its doors in 2017 after an explosion damaged the front of the museum and galleries in 2014. Claire Messenger (ITP Manager) and I were looking forward to seeing the new displays, after listening to Egyptian ITP fellows talk so passionately about the work they had undertaken over the last few years. Mohamed Abdelsalem (ITP 2013) and Abdelrehim Hanafy (ITP 2012), curators at the museum, greeted us at the entrance to begin the tour!

The museum welcomes the visitor into the first gallery which is situated directly in front of you, as you enter. Objects which represent the focal points of Islam are displayed and explained. The museum then guides you through the Islamic periods chronologically, from the Umayyads to the Muhammad Ali Ottoman period. The museum then takes you through key collections such as textiles, carpets, coins and weapons, and key themes including daily life, science and medicine.

New features in the museum include a trail highlighting particularly noteworthy objects for visitors who only have one hour to explore. Red dots are placed next to objects which were damaged in the explosion and are now back on display after conservation. Fatamid ceramic dishes are lined up depicting various scene including musicians and dancers. The objects depicted in these scenes are placed next to the plates, bringing the scenes to life.

Islamic Museum 4

At the end of our wonderful tour Claire was asked to sign the guest register and we were whisked off to an amazing lunch! Thank you so much to Mohamed and Abdelrehim for a wonderful afternoon.