Modern Egypt Project

Areas of Focus:
Address: 20 Adly Street, Kodak Passageway, Downtown Cairo, Egypt
Date of Establishment: 2016

Mission Statement

Please note that there is no recent update for this initiative. 



The British Museum has long been renowned for its ancient Egyptian collection – from the mummies to the Rosetta Stone. But the collection also includes important objects from later periods that are less well known, including Late Antiquity, the Mamluk era and the Ottoman Period, alongside ethnographic material from the late 19th and early 20th centuries AD. This research project will bring the story up to the present day. 

A collection of modern objects is being created – from printed material to textiles, photographs to items of everyday homeware and ephemera. Part of this collection will be accessioned by the British Museum, for use in future displays and to be made accessible to researchers. The second part will be donated to an institution in Egypt. The objects collected so far primarily focus on the period of the 1950s and 60s and include an Arabic language typewriter, a Nefertiti sewing machine, film posters and children’s toys.

The project focuses on three themes, which offer synergies with the older collections from Egypt:

1: Urban Egypt: Cairo and beyond. How do objects reflect Cairo and other cities, from their grandiose monuments to informal neighbourhoods. How is the village homeland retained, modified and/or projected in this environment? 

2: Graphic and image in modern Egypt. How are Arabic and other scripts deployed to project identities, whether corporate, political, religious and/or individual? How are aspects of traditional craft production being reimagined? 

3: Living with the past. How has imagery from the past been targeted at, and consumed by, Egyptian audiences? How does this relationship to the past compare to that in Italy, Greece and Iran (for example), places also rich in ancient visual sources?

Related Past Events: