The Child Museum
This is Cairo’s specialist museum for children, which aims to provide the child with a detailed knowledge of Egypt’s civilisation, history, culture and it’s natural environment. The museum’s intention is to provide children with ways to interact with the world around them, by an exploratory journey of discovery of their environment and their own unique and important place within it.
The idea of the Child Museum was born in 1985 and was pioneered by Mrs Suzanne Mubarak, patron of children in Egypt. Specialists in the various fields from all over the world have since worked hard to create an atmosphere which children will absorb, using science, technology, architecture, history and nature to provide an extensive cultural knowledge of their country.
On entering the museum, each child is given his own ‘passport’ which will allow him to begin the tour and the passport is stamped at each section the child visits. The tour proceeds in chronological order from the earliest times in human history up to the present day. Television screens are used to show Egyptian children from various regions – and they can also see images of themselves, via close circuit cameras.
In the pharaonic exhibit, children are shown how the ancient Egyptians conducted their lives and how they coped with their environment with the use of audio-visual aids and interactive displays. They are shown the River Nile, the deserts, oases and mountains and how ancient people lived in their world, explaining the inundation, agriculture, crafts and industries. Mechanical exhibits and computers explain building and engineering – how the pyramids were constructed for instance.
Different display areas include the River Nile Hall, the Hall of Deserts and the Red Sea Hall, and a Discovery Hall. In the Handicrafts Hall children are encouraged to try their skills in arts and crafts and to practice being creative. There is also an Information Hall which contains books, CD-ROMs and other multimedia materials so that children can do their own research.
The museum building is surrounded by a beautiful park which is also an important part of the educational and discovery process. The gardens contain a wide variety of botanical and zoological life – trees, flowers, birds and insects – and the children are guided on a tour of the natural world. They are encouraged to examine but respect what they find in the park – perhaps draw their favourite butterflies and flowers, watch the behaviour of ants with magnifying lenses as they scurry about, or to look at birds through binoculars with the help of a tour leader.
The museum building and its surrounding park is an integrated learning experience which any child will undoubtedly enjoy.
How to get there
The Child Museum can be found at 34 Abu Bakr Street, Heliopolis, Cairo. Tel. 249915.