Roundup: Egyptian museums mark Int'l Museum Day with special activities for visitors

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CAIRO, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Major museums in Egypt welcomed visitors with a range of special events and activities on International Museum Day on Thursday.

Free narrated tours led by curators and sign language tours of certain collections were offered at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in the capital Cairo.

The museum announced that, in cooperation with professional intermediary interpreters, it prepared to offer the sign language guide twice a month as a regular service.

The move would make NMEC "the first museum in Egypt to provide such service," said Azza El-Sayed Rezk, a curator and education supervisor of NMEC.

Themed "Museums, Sustainability and Wellbeing," this year's museum day called on museums worldwide to become key contributors to the well-being and the sustainable development of their communities, said the International Council of Museums on its webpage dedicated to the annual event.

"It's not a memorial day as much as a moral and ethical directive for the future vision of museums," Maissara Abdullah Hussein, NMEC's deputy director of antiquities, told Xinhua.

Changes in decades of functions and values show that "a museum is no longer just a place for exhibiting artifacts. It has become a scientific, educational, and cultural institution, which plays a big social role," Hussein said next to a slideshow introducing NMEC's history.

In downtown Cairo, the iconic Egyptian Museum in Cairo (EMC), which houses the largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world, offered free curator's narration and talks to raise awareness of how museums benefit societies.

Speaking of the transfer of pieces to Cairo's newly-established museums to enrich their collection, EMC's Director General Ali Abdel-Halim said such an outreach effort would not affect EMC's popularity.

Over 20 royal mummies have been transferred to the NMEC and a collection of famous King Tutankhamun to the recently-built Grand Egyptian Museum, but EMC's visitors' turnout, which varies between 10,000 and 12,000 daily, has been quite good, he said.

"It is the mother of Egypt's archeological museums," he noted. Enditem

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