Understanding the concept of a universal museum (Heba Alders, Egypt, ITP 2024)

Written by Heba Alders, Curator, Aswan Museum, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (Egypt, ITP 2024)

Greetings! My name is Heba Alders, and I come from Aswan, a beautiful city in the southern region of Egypt. Currently, I am working at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in the Aswan Museum.

Today I had the privilege of visiting the British Museum for the first time. This opportunity arose from my acceptance into the International Training Programme (ITP) this year. This marked a significant milestone in my professional journey

Throughout the day, we were fortunate to have the guidance of awesome Claire, George, and Amelia from the ITP programme and Yanoa our senior fellow. They provided us with invaluable insights about our time on the ITP journey and eagerly listened to our queries and needs. During this session I felt an immense sense of pride when I learned that the International Training Programme was initiated upon an Egyptian request. Moreover, it’s truly inspiring to witness how the programme has helped establish a vast network of professionals.

Additionally, I had a quick visit to the Egypt and Sudan department and galleries and I can’t wait to start to learn more about the department’s work.

Photograph of Hebe stood in front of an Egyptian and Syrian display case.

One of the highlights of the day was the networking session. It was both enjoyable and enlightening to hear more about my fellow participants. Connecting with them allowed me to find similarities and shared interests. I think this will help me reinforce the bonds that will be formed during the next six weeks.

However, what exceeded my expectations was the extraordinary tour conducted by the museum’s dedicated volunteer, Ferelith Hordon. Her explanations were not only informative but also conveyed a deep sense of passion for her work.

Photograph of a woman stood speaking to a group in the Great Court at the British Museum.

During this captivating tour, I grasped the true essence of a universal museum. Coming from a country where our museums primarily focus on exhibiting Egyptian heritage and history, it was truly enlightening to move from one gallery to another and acquire knowledge about diverse cultures, countries, and historical eras.

This experience has broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of the interconnectedness of civilizations throughout history. I even had the opportunity to learn fascinating new information. For instance, I discovered that the game of chess originates in India, an intriguing fact that I was not aware of before.

Photograph of (L-R) Tatiana Quevedo Mogollon (ITP 2024), Ferelith Hordon (BM volunteer), and Sofia Busch (ITP 2024).

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the ITP and to have witnessed firsthand the power of a universal museum in fostering global understanding and appreciation.