This important email has come through from the Director of the Museum, about access to information for the next six months.
To whom it may concern,
Due to the current situation in Egypt, I regret to say that the Registration, Collections Management and Documentation Department (RCMDD) and the curatorial staff of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo will not be accepting any new requests for object information and images starting from 1 December, 2011 until 30 May, 2012. This is due to the huge backlog that was created following the events of January 28th, as well as the renovations that are currently happening in the Museum. Information on objects from our collection can still be obtained by accessing the intranet version of the Museum Database on the computers dedicated to scholars in the RCMDD office, located in the museum basement. The department is open to scholars from 9:30 am until 2:00 pm, Sunday-Thursday.
Dr. Tarek El Awady
General Director,The Egyptian Museum, Cairo
As part of some limited site updating to accompany the introduction of this page, I've checked the links on the Essential, Institutional and Museum pages, and have been amazed, but not surprised, by the number of changes. If colleagues could tell me about these changes I can keep things a little more error free!
Lots of things are happening in Egypt, politically and in the SCA. Elections are being talked about this month, but it could be later. There is no doubt there is discontent from those who helped drive the old government out about the pace of change, the role of the army, and the presence of old regime figures in the government. There has also been an unwelcome increase in sectarian troubles, with a particularly unpleasant attack against Copts on 9 October, in which government involvement was claimed, and a general feeling that tensions are on the rise. Let us hope that a new government will be in place before long and they will try and defuse some of this.
In my last post, I left the SCA with a new leader in September, Mohamed Abdel Fattah. However, he resigned after only three weeks in office, claiming he had no powers to make any decisions. The government then appointed Mustafa Amin as his successor at the end of September, who is presently in office. But there is still an undercurrent of discontent within the SCA, and we hear of demonstrations and protests about promised changes not happening. Truly the pent-up frustration of the Mubarek years is coming out; the most recent example was the firing of Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, head of the Supreme Committee of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM); he was removed from his post at the end of October following protests by employees.
No doubt the uncertainty is having an effect on tourism, which is down considerably (perhaps 42%) on usual, and of course we are now in the prime tourist season. It is more important that the country sorts itself out rather than worry about tourism, but then again tourism has been the number 1 currency earner for a number of years, and so people in areas dependent on tourism will be suffering. Rumours still come out of possible thefts. On the Egyptology fieldwork front, we hear that permissions for a number of foreign missions have now been granted, as the whole archaeological process has, unsurprisingly, been largely in limbo since February.