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The Egyptian Geological Museum
The Egyptian geological museum lies at Al Zahraa near AL Maadi. It was built in 1904, and it was opened for the public in the same year. The inauguration of the museum, which was hundred years ago, was a significant international event not only in the Arab region, but in the whole continent of Africa as it was the first of its kind. The museum was built as a part of the Egyptian Geological Survey which was established in 1869. The museum was built with the aim of introducing the Egyptian land and history to the visitors; therefore, it has played an essential role in discovering more about the land and geology of Egypt. Over the years, it has helped the scientists and archeologists to conduct their researches and to find out more about the Egyptian land and the geological history of Egypt. In 1986, the museum was expanded by adding laboratories to it. The museum is also served with a library which contains valuable books and references, but unfortunately, in 1982 this cultural landmark was moved from the old Tahrir site into temporary buildings because of the Cairo underground. <Guide book>. However, when we think deeply about the purpose of building the museum, a crucial question emerges: is the museum useful for school children? Or does it need a lot of improvement to help the school kids to benefit from it? I think that the Egyptian geological museum is a good museum, and with imagination and care it can be very helpful for school children.
There is no doubt that the geological museum plays an important role in helping the Egyptian students to acquire valuable information about Egypt as it provides samples and training for secondary school teachers and specialists from other scientific institutions. <Guide book>. The access to the museum is considered easy; therefore, the museum is not crowded. The staff of the museum is friendly and helpful.
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On the other hand, there are some serious problems which need urgent attention to be solved. A major problem for any school trip to the museum is the space; I think that there is not enough space in the museum for the school children. The display of the material is old fashioned; as a result, school children won't be interested in gaining new information from the museum. In addition, the labels also aren't well organized and they don't really help the casual visitors, especially if they were children, to understand the materials for the reason that they aren't descriptive. Most of the labels are helpful for scientists and the people who study geology, yet they are almost useless for casual visitors. The labels are also written in different languages, and most of them are written in English. I can't imagine how a six years old child will be able to understand these labels. There are no guidebooks in Arabic which can help casual visitors to understand the materials on display. Finally, there are no tour guides in the museum to explain to the visitors the contents of the museum, and there is no cafeteria in the museum which is considered very important for children.
All these problems need urgent solutions in order to get maximum benefit from the museum. First of all, some facilities should be provided to facilitate the job of the museum to convey its message. For example, there should be sufficient guidebooks in Arabic to help any casual visitor to understand the materials on display. The labels also should be written clearly and in different languages, particularly in Arabic. Children need direction and something to do; therefore, there should be tour guides and worksheets to help the children to acquire the information directly, and to engage them in the exhibit. A small library for school children containing simple books and pictures about the museum and Egypt would be of a great value. There also should be a small cafeteria to serve the children during their visit. Finally, presentations, visual aids, and movies would have a great effect on the children to be aware of the significance of our history, hence they should be provided by the museum.
Thus, it can be seen that, the geological museum is doing its job effectively in helping the scientists and students in conducting their researches, and acquiring valuable information. On the other hand, in teaching the school children, it needs a lot of development. At the end, we call the Ministry of Culture to be concerned about this museum, and develop it, so it can function effectively in teaching the school children the history and heritage of Egypt.