The Problem with the Egypt Museum in 2016

As we mentioned in our post on the British Museum, Egyptian artifacts are tricky. On the one hand, it’s a shame that important pieces of history and Egypt’s cultural heritage have been stolen away and distributed globally for the benefit of other countries. On the other hand: there’s the condition of the Egypt Museum circa 2016.

Many artifacts were uncurated, unlabeled, and stored outside. One of the best preserved copies of the book of the dead, a religious text on papyrus that is thousands of years old, hung in an open airway stairwell, too high to enjoy, unlabeled and uncurated and, worst of all, exposed to sunlight and uncontrolled humidity.

A new Egypt Museum has been opened since we visited Cairo and I sincerely hope that it does a better job of caring for and educating visitors on its priceless contents. Until then, was putting all of that stolen Egyption stuff in the perfectly climate-controlled and dimly lit British Museum so bad? We’ll leave it up to you to decide.

The book of the dead, unprotected and too high to read.
Beautiful artifact. What is it? Well, it was unlabeled. Your guess is as good as mine.
This was one of many statues out in the elements. This one happened to be nicely displayed, though others were just laying outside in preparation for the move to the new Egypt Museum. Interestingly, the British museum now has the nicest copies of Greek artifacts because they took plaster casts and kept them indoors, while the Greek statues were exposed to the elements. I wonder if the situation is similar with the statues in the Egypt wing.