文化遺産国際協力コンソーシアム Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage JCIC-Heritage logo JCIC-Heritage

Project for the Conservation Center in the Grand Egyptian Museum

Project for the Conservation Center in the Grand Egyptian Museum

Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA)

Egypt

collection of the Grand Egyptian Museum

2008-2016 Human Resource Development
01/03/2013
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BACKGROUND

Cooperation for securing employment in Egypt

Principles of Japan’s cooperation with Egypt

Egypt is a country where a great number of historical ruins and artifacts have been discovered, and its great history is so well known that it requires no explanation. JICA is involved with a program for “Tourism Development,” under the rubric of “Realization of Sustainable Growth and Employment Creation”, which is one of the main areas of Japan’s cooperation with Egypt. Egypt’s tourism sector accounts for 4.3% (2009/2010) of the country’s GDP, and 12.6% (2008) of its jobs. In 2009, the total number of tourists visiting the country was 12.54 million, income from which amounted to 11.6 billion dollars. In 2011 Egypt underwent a political transformation and the number of tourists declined, along with income from tourism. Nevertheless, the tourism industry remains an important sector accounting for a significant share of the nation’s employment.

Construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum and cultural properties

On 15th May 2006 JICA signed a loan agreement regarding “The Grand Egyptian Museum Construction Project”. The current project goes together with that loan, and is designed to provide training courses on the conservation of artifacts for the staff of the Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center (hereinafter GEM-CC), an institution established by the Egyptian government. The Egyptian Museum (hereinafter EM), established in 1902, has served as Egypt’s central institution for tourism, but there have been issues of aging and insufficient exhibition and storage space at the facility. The Grand Egyptian Museum (hereinafter GEM) will accommodate approximately 100,000 artifacts, including some from the EM. The staff of the GEM must carry out conservation of the artifacts that are to be displayed in the new museum as well as conducting appropriate management. Over 150 staff members are assigned to the GEM-CC.

Textile: Group Work for Conservators

ACTIVITIES

Project Activities

Background

This is first time JICA has become involved in a project concerning the conservation of cultural resources, and a good deal of time was required to prepare for the official commencement of the project. In order to facilitate the project, we began by dispatching experts based on the recommendation of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and have since sent a number of missions to Egypt. Meanwhile, we carried out basic training courses where it was judged feasible to do so, on topics including textile and photographic techniques. In November 2009, we sent an investigative team made up of eleven experts from various fields with a view to drawing up a fully-fledged training program. Based on the outcome of this investigation we created a “Plan of the Capacity Development Program for GEM-CC staff-members” which has become the foundation of our current project.

Plan of the Capacity Development Program for GEM-CC staff-members

The GEM-CC handles many different types of artifacts, ranging from wood, textiles, and glass, to mummies. In addition, the work involves not only restoration and conservation of the artifacts, but encompasses diverse areas such as database construction and utilization, collection management, IPM, occupational health and safety, packing and transportation of artifacts, and improvement of management. In order to deliver the comprehensive content of this program, we receive support from the National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Tokyo, with regard to assigning experts. The lecturers, venue, materials, and plan are selected to ensure that the implemented training effectively meets the needs of the Egyptian staff. As of winter 2012, we have carried out twenty-one training courses on site in addition to eleven sessions in Japan. We endeavor to take a flexible approach to running the program, requesting experts from other countries to conduct courses in fields that would be difficult for Japanese experts.

Packing and Transportation in the GEM-CC

RESULTS

Towards Sustainability

In the beginning of the project, there was an exploratory period during which experts from both countries tried to identify each other’s capabilities. By 2009, we had come up with a Capacity Development program suited to the wide-ranging work of the GEM-CC, including conservation and restoration, scientific analyses, and collection management, while respecting the traditional technologies and ideas in Egypt. Subsequently, we carried out various training courses and technical support in the fields of preventive conservation, conservation, and conservation science. Through these activities, a method of transferring international standard techniques and new ideas from the Japanese side to the GEM-CC staff began to take root in Egypt. Meanwhile, as the scope of support broadened, organizational and operational challenges arose with regard to how the multi-faceted results of Capacity development might be put into practice and promoted in GEM-CC.
As construction of the museum progresses, a vast number of artifacts to be stored in the GEM are scheduled to be transported to the museum from all across Egypt. In order to restore, manage and display these pieces appropriately, the staff of each section of the GEM-CC must further develop their knowledge and techniques. It is also an urgent task to build an organization and system whereby the accumulated techniques and experience can be efficiently and independently managed by the GEM-CC and further exported and shared with outside institutions. We will continue to offer unflagging technical support towards the building of a firm foundation for the museum, as we approach its opening in 2015 and the accomplishment of our project goal: The GEM-CC functions as integrated center for conservation study according to international standard under self-sufficient management.

Japanese Paper for Conservation Treatment

Textile: Group Work for Scientists

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