Khufu boat, MIA, Wadi Hittan museum win ICOM Best Practice Award

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 5 Jun 2016

Two restoration projects and a museum won the 2016 Best Practice Award from the Egyptian National Committee of the ICOM

Khufu solar boat restorers team

Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy and National Archive Head Sherif Shahin along with archeologists, curators and the media gathered to celebrate the winners of the Egyptian National Committee of the International Council of Museums' (ICOM Egypt) 2016 Best Practice Award at the National Archives' conference hall in Cairo.

Eissa Zidan, Restoration Department Head at the Egyptian Museum and Khufu boat restoration supervisor told Ahram Online that this year the Museum of Islamic Art, Department of Restoration and Khufu restoration team won the conservation award, while the Fossils and Climate Change Museum (Wadi Al-Hitan Museum) and the Zoological Museum won the Exhibition award.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria, the Blind School at the Egyptian Museum and the Rashid National Museum won the community outreach award.

The second Khufu boat was discovered along with the first one inside two pits neighbouring each other in 1954, when Egyptian archaeologists Kamal Al-Mallakh and Zaki Nour were carrying out routine cleaning on the southern side of the Great Pyramid.

Zidan explains that the first boat was removed piece by piece under the supervision of restoration expert Ahmed Youssef, who spent more than 20 years restoring and reassembling the boat, which is now on display at Khufu’s Solar Boat Museum on the Giza Plateau.

Zidan receives the ICOM award

The second boat remained sealed in the neighbouring pit until 1987 when it was examined by the American National Geographic Society in association with the Egyptian Office for Historical Monuments

In 2009, a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University headed by Sakuji Yoshimura offered to remove the boat from the pit, restore and reassemble it and put it on show to the public. The team cleaned the pit of insects and inserted a camera through a hole in the chamber’s limestone ceiling in order to examine the boat’s condition and determine appropriate methods of restoration.

Restoration experts are removing the boat piece by piece and restoring it.

Yushimura and Zidan with the award

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