Imhotep’s adventure at the British Museum (Mamdouh Farouk, Egypt, ITP 2023)

Written by Mamdouh Farouk, Director, Imhotep Museum (Egypt, ITP 2023)

ElSalam Aleekom, it’s me, Mamdouh Farouk, from Egypt. I am the Director of the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara. I didn’t expect that my dreams would come true in the last two years! From 2021 I was appointed Director of the Imhotep Museum, and by 2022 I achieved my PhD in Egyptology. So, when the Imhotep Museum closed for development, I wished to get an opportunity to travel abroad, to gain more experience in museology. Then, to my great happiness I was chosen to participate in the ITP 2023. It was a sign to achieve what I had hoped for; to educate and train my team at the Imhotep Museum.

2023 ITP fellow Mamdouh Farouk pictured outside the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara.

Once me and fellow ITP colleague Dina arrived at Schafer House in London, my heart was reassured, especially with the great and helpful team, Ciprian, Amelia, and George, who gave us a warm welcome. They offered all possible facilities to us. So, I was wondering, who was the lady who was emailing me, and was facilitating all things for me?! The answer came to me when I met Claire, the Director of the ITP programme, a lady with a sense of humour, who loves her job!

I gained confidence when I introduced myself to my colleagues, museum officials, and museum partners. So far, I have had a wonderful experience and have been learning a huge amount of information, and tours of the museum’s galleries that have given me a good perspective about different cultures. The thing that has impressed me the most is the complex system inside the British Museum – I entered corridors and rooms as if they were subway tunnels, in the building of the British Museum!

The 2023 ITP fellows pictured outside the British Museum.

Professors and specialists sit and work quietly. Warehouses are equipped to store objects of various sizes and materials from many civilizations. The restoration and conservation team impressed me greatly in how they examine and maintain the tiny details in wood, metal, papers and stones, especially examining objects with X-ray devices.

I can’t forget Loretta’s role, the Curator of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt and Sudan, who does her best to help us both inside and outside the museum, especially on Wednesdays and Thursdays in our department days.

I feel no fear or feel no stranger between the ITP fellows, and I found many answers to the questions, that were stuck my mind. They love Egypt, and appreciate its antiquities and civilization, so I feel proud that the Egyptian objects are displayed in a wonderful and attractive way here at the British Museum, especially the Rosetta Stone. 

My experience has been further enriched by visiting Lincoln, a quiet place very different from the capital. Me and ITP fellow Ali were met with a warm welcome from Andrea and her colleagues. I was excited to introduce myself to the Lincoln Museum staff, and I was impressed when I learned the history of the city through the amazing talks from the museum curators. Lincoln has been distinguished and unique in different stages of civilization, from prehistoric tools through Roman history, to the Medieval era. What made me so excited today was a tour with Mr. Robert, former director of the Lincolnshire Heritage Conservation, around Lincoln City, where we visited the main landmarks of Roman castles, forts, and walls.

Mamdouh Farouk pictured in Lincoln

And the adventure continues…