The Egyptian museum has seen its share of misfortunes since the 2011 revolution. The area around it has become a hot zone for protests and marches, with tourism numbers plummeting in their aftermath. But several initiatives are already underway to help the museum recover. Last month, Daily News Egypt reported on the petition to reclaim the land housing the former National Democratic Party building for the museum. In 2013, Patrons of the Egyptian Museum (PEMC) was founded to provide sustainable assistance to the museum.
The PEMC is group of dedicated people working to ensure the museum can develop and overcome restrictions on receiving contributions.
“The museum needs a support group,” said Dr Yasmin El-Shazly, head of documentation at the museum and founding member of PEMC. “Most museums do not have a lot of money and rely on supporting groups. The Egyptian museum is also not allowed to accept donations or contributions directly and this makes it very difficult to receive funds, as they go to the Ministry of Antiquities which is then free to allocate it as it sees fit.”
Other groups existed before PEMC but did not continue their activities because they wanted a say in how the museum was being run, El-Shazly said.
“After the 2011 revolution, an offer of assistance came to the museum from an individual to paint some of the gallery halls,” El-Shazly said. “We decided it would be better to organise, and PEMC was born. We founded it under the umbrella of Nahdet El Mahrousa because it offers us support and a space to work until we become more established and can register as an NGO on our own.”
PEMC consists of six committees: Egyptology and museology, financial and legal, media, public relations, educational public outreach and technical.
“The Egyptology and museology committee’s aim is to empower the staff of the museum through workshops,” El-Shazly said. “The financial and legal committee will raise funds for the museum and also help it find a way to raise funds on its own so it does not become dependent on PEMC and can do this sustainably. The media committee connects and promotes the group and the museum with media to raise awareness while the PR committee networks with other organisations and companies that want to help. Our educational public outreach committee is geared towards educating the public on the importance of the museum and its antiquities. We plan on going to schools, organising special tours of the museum for kids and trying to get a curriculum that teaches children about pharaonic heritage. Finally, [we have] our technical committee, which aims to help the museum with lighting, fire fighting and security issues.”
PEMC is in the process of signing a cooperation protocol with the museum that would allow it to help the museum raise funds as well as help with issues such as IT and security.
“We encourage anyone who has something to offer to contact us,” El-Shazly said. “For example, if you are an Egyptologist, you can give a lecture. Someone else can help with the IT committee.”
For now, PEMC is not an open group because it is not an independent NGO, but El-Shazly said when it becomes one, it will open its doors to anyone interested in becoming a member.