This study addresses the persistence of a colonial gaze employed by Western European archaeological museums in their current process of curating Ancient Egyptian exhibitions. This “colonial gaze” is related to the concept of “othering”, as defined by Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), which presents a critical outlook on Western conceptions and representations of cultures in the Middle and Far East. My study was focused on two Dutch museum with significant Ancient Egyptian collections, namely the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. The data for this study was gathered through a content analysis of the museum’s mission statements, their choice of collection highlights, in addition to an in-situ observation of each of the permanent exhibitions and interviews with the head curators of the Egyptian departments of the two museums. Through this mixed methods approach, I have arrived at different conclusions which not only address the question of to what degree this colonial gaze is still employed by museums, but which also sheds light on a range of issues regarding the contextualization of the artifacts, the museums’ acquisition histories and policies, and post-colonial debates regarding the ownership and repatriation of artifacts.

Additional Metadata
Keywords kunstwetenschappen, cultuurwetenschappen, Orientalism, Ancient Egypt, Curatorship, Post-Colonial Studies, Acquisition Policy
Thesis Advisor Daniela Stocco Ferreira
Persistent URL
Series Master Arts, Culture & Society
Isabela Silvia Avila. (2018, June 12). Curating Ancient Egypt: Examples from the Netherlands. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from