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Egyptophiles please advise among 3 museums

Egyptophiles please advise among 3 museums

Old Aug 26th, 2001, 10:24 AM
Dina Lydia
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Egyptophiles please advise among 3 museums

We are a married couple about to begin 7 oh-so-exciting weeks of traveling in London, France, Spain, Greece, Cairo, our first trip to Europe. I know that the British Museum, the Louvre, and the Cairo Museum all have extensive collections of Egyptian antiquities, which I love---but I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount of time in museums. Among these three collections, which would you choose and why? I'm thinking of skipping the Eyptian collection in the Louvre, to have time for a few of the thousands of other artworks. How does the British Museum compare with the Cairo? Thanks so much in advance, for this and the hundred other questions you've answered for me.
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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Dina Lydia, the best way to do this is that YOU sit with information regarding the content of all the museums involved and YOU decide which works YOU must see.
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 11:12 AM
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Hello Dina - I am also an Egyptophile and have been to all three museums. There is NO comparison between London/Paris and Cairo - the collection in Cairo is absolutely magnificent and far bigger than either Paris or London. Both Paris & London have some very interesting pieces "appropriated" when both occupied Egypt - so it is interesting to see these isolated items and then put them in context when you get to Egypt. I would be inclined to do a very quick tour of the collections, focusing on the major pieces. If I had to choose, I'd probably prefer the BM over the Louvre, but only marginally!

Have a great trip!

Regards ... Ger
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 01:57 PM
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I will second Ger, we have been to all 3 museums, paying particular attention to the Egyptian collections and do not miss Cairo's! I bought the book and still look at it.
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 02:09 PM
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I will third the opinion -- I've been to all, am also and Egyptophile (and have also seen the Egyptian collection in the NY Metropolitan) and there is no comparison for me, Cairo is the best, absolutely. As for why -- it's just the best, that's all, they have the most stuff there (thank goodness, not all of it has been appropriated by other countries). As I recall, especially the stuff from King Tut's tomb is unique, I don't think any of the others have anything close to that. Some of that collection was on a special tour in the US back in the late 1970s, as I recall - I lived in Los Angeles at the time and saw it in the LA museum, but that was an unusual tour. I would focus on the stuff special to France in the Louvre.
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 02:31 PM
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Judy: Good suggestion - Dina - buy the official book in the Cairo Museum. I have often taken it out to review the wonderful treasures I saw.

Christina: What amused me in the Cairo Museum was that the "rubbish", thrown into a corner and unlabelled, was better than most of what I had seen in other museums.

I read recently that Cairo is planning to build a new super, interactive, climate controlled (absolutely necessary at this point because of the deterioration of the treasures) museum by the Pyamids. You are lucky to get the opportunity to see the original.

Don't miss seeing Ramses the great (you have to pay an extra fee)- it is very tastefuly done and made me think about how disrespectful we generally are to remains.

If you are going to Luxor, the museum there is also extraordinary - the statuary could have been carved yesterday.

Also, hope you are planning a trip to Dandera - its well worth it.

Regards ..Ger

Old Aug 26th, 2001, 03:29 PM
Dina Lydia
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Thanks SO MUCH for the very useful feedback. I'm very excited now anticipating the Cairo museum. And "read-a-little", I HAVE been reading, a LOT, non-stop for months, from message boards, guidebooks, magazines, and websites, not to mention viewing TV travelogues and historical documentaries, about museums, ruins, architecture, artworks, geographical features, local culture, etc., of places we expect to visit. But sometimes, when inundated with information, it helps to hear an experienced person's simple comparison.
Old Aug 26th, 2001, 03:35 PM
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Dina Lydia: we're not on your itinerary, but believe it or not one of the best Egyptian collections in the world is in Brooklyn. Just thought I'd mention that should you ever make it to NYC, you definitely will want to make a stop at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Old Aug 28th, 2001, 10:14 AM
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How about the Aegyptian museum in Berlin? Have any of you been to that one? I have been to the Cairo and Luxor museums, but think the Nefertiti sculpture will be worth a look.

Escritora, I saw some of the Brooklyn collection at the Egypt exhibit in Toronto last year. Very impressive.
Old Aug 28th, 2001, 11:07 AM
Neal Sanders
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Dina, I've been to each of the museums you cite, and if you're really keen on seeing those Egyptian antiquities, you're going to kick yourself upon your return for skipping any of them.

Both the British Museum and the Louvre have recently re-organized and curated their extensive collections. What were once relatively haphazard and musty exhibitions (especially on the part of the British Museum) are now worthy of the treasures on display. Is it worth half a day at each? I think so.

I was at the Cairo Museum three years ago, but unless there has been some radical change, you'll find that the materials are poorly curated and displayed (except, of course, for the Tutankhamun rooms, which are worth a visit in and of themselves. Fortunately, to the extent there is signage, it is in English.

"ger" points out the Luxor Museum -- small but exquisite in its choice of pieces. I would also add to your to-see list the Nubian Museum in Aswan. We were there just as it opened; it is the most intelligently curated museum in Egypt and a trove of wonderful objects.

And, as Escritora and Christina point out, New York has, the the Met and the Brooklyn Museum, two of the best places in the world for exploring Egyptian antiquities. Don't pass them by!
Old Aug 29th, 2001, 08:01 AM
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I promise you, you will be so bowled over by the size of the Louvre (remember it started life as a palace), that you won't know where to begin--unless you make a plan in advance. I'm with those who advise you to scratch the Egyptian collection there, since you'll be visiting Cairo, and focus on the other collections--I'm a fan of French Romanticism so I make a beeline for the Delacroix's, etc. The place is so huge, you certainly can't cover all of it and really have to pick and choose. My favorite item in the Louvre is the Winged Victory--it is truly a most extraordinary piece.
Old Aug 29th, 2001, 08:15 AM
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Go Cairo. That museum deals with Egypt. No sharing. In addition, you'll be there. Short distance to the Giza Pyramids, not far at all to reach Luxor, Aswan and whatever, just to confirm. Or to reconfirm when you end your Egypt travel. Go Egypt!!!!
Bjorn, Oslo
Old Aug 29th, 2001, 09:27 AM
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As a former Egyptologist, I heartily recommend the Cairo Museum. What makes it so great is that it spans the entire lenght of (ancient) Egyptian history, beginning with the pre-Dynastic (Palette of Narmer), continuing through the Old, Middle & New Kingdoms (including the Intermediate Periods), and on into the later periods. Cairo has unbelieveable pieces from every period, and is, quite simply, not to be missed.

However, you must be aware, as was pointed out by Neal, that the exhibits are in a dreadful state. It's dirty and dusty, and not like a Western museum at all (exception being the Tut rooms). What you won't see is that behind the curtains, and in between the rooms on the ground floor, are boxes upon boxes upon boxes of artifacts that have yet to be unpacked - some up to 100 years old!!

The #2 Egyptian museum in the world is generally considered to be the British Museum. Among other things, they are noted for having the actual Rosetta Stone. Of course, the Louvre has some wonderful pieces also, and I would not hesitate to schedule a visit if you're going to be in Paris.

As to the museums in the US, their best pieces often depends on where they excavated. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, for example, has had a concession (permission to excavate) at the Giza Necropis since 1902. Therefore, they have the best Old Kingdom collection outside of Cairo. The Metropolitan in New York is strongest in New Kingdom, including the wonderful tomb watercolors by Nina Davies. Brooklyn has a particularly nice collection which is often overlooked, but well worth the time to visit.

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