The “Islamic Museum of Art” is a much too limiting name for this outstanding museum in my opinion. When I first visited it, I could not believe I had lived in Egypt for over 8 years and had never heard of it. The only reason I finally found it was on a recommendation from my son, Stephen who is an art lover. Personally, I have to admit I don’t appreciate “art” (as was my limited understanding of the word) as much as he does. He heard my lack of enthusiasm over the phone and had to explain to me that it was not and actual Art Gallery but an extraordinary collection, several collections, of Islamic pieces and that I didn’t know what I would be missing out on if I did not go see the Islamic Museum for myself. He was so right!
I was enthralled on my first visit, but I also felt cheated because I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at…and there was so much of it! The museum is really well designed for walking around because it has a logical sequence, in the sense that one room or space calls the visitor onwards from the previous space. I hate museums where I feel I have to backtrack in order not to miss something.
Also I am the type of person to whom items/things/buildings mean nothing unless I know the story behind them and something of the people who owned, used or lived in them. The Cairo Islamic Museum of Art is also excellent with the descriptions they have beside many of the items and the way they collections are displayed. However, I personally need a guide. The experience, for me, is much better when I am with someone who leads me to the most interesting pieces, tells me the story and where possible can show me a connection between the pieces of art and/or their former owners.