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Built on Sand

The museum, an institution to preserve and interpret the material evidence of the human race, has a long history, springing from an innate human desire to collect and interpret the world around us. By deciding how the past is presented and memorialized, museums not only preserve the past, they also play an important role in the construction of our ideologies, identities, and the understanding and interpretation of ourselves.

Egypt’s identity is particularly interwoven and defined by its history, a history that has long been celebrated around the world. The open-air museums of ancient Egypt promoted the world’s first package holidays, drawing visitors to celebrate and interpret the country’s rich history. Today, hundreds of museums in Egypt preserve and exhibit the past for tourists and Egyptians alike. The grandiose style of Egyptian museums reflects and magnifies the magnificence of Egypt’s bygone eras.

This series focuses on the museums of Egypt and the different styles used in curating and presenting the past to audiences. Using space, materials, and design, curators can venerate events, revere heroes, and imbue history with a sense of glory. Through the aesthetics of the displays, museums and their curators help the public understand history, but more importantly, reveal and mold Egypt’s identity.


Jason Larkin was born in London in 1979. He has a degree in Photographic Communication from Falmouth College of Arts and an MA in Photojournalism from University of Westminster. Currently based in Johannesburg, he works extensively throughout the Middle East region. Recent commissions include Monocle, FT Magazine, L’Espresso, New York Times, Der Spiegel, and The Guardian.

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One comment for Built on Sand

  1. Comment by Morgan Swash on August 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    These photos are amazing. I’ve never left my home village of Paddlesworth, near Snodland in England, but if I did I would no go to Egypt.

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