Cairo Museum and Audio Tours

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Cairo Museum and Audio Tours

Post by Goddess »

Egyptian Museum to offer audio tours

By Daily News Egypt
First Published 7/30/2009

CAIRO: The Egyptian Museum will start offering its visitors audio tours starting November, a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Antiquities said.

The new system is meant to substitute tour guides’ assistance, which, according to Zahi Hawass, head of Supreme Council of Antiquities, creates “sound pollution.”

The new system will provide headsets to tourists through which they will be guided through the museum. This is meant to offer guests uninterrupted tours, free of distractions.

This approach, Hawas said, is one that has been successfully used in more than one museum abroad and it is meant to “improve the tourist’s experience” and help him or her enjoy the “wonders of Ancient Egypt.”

This system has been undergoing an experimental stage since mid July through voluntary tourists, before its final application in November. –Daily News Egypt

http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/articl ... leID=23463



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Post by Horus »

At last Zahi has come up with a good idea :)
Some years ago I used this system at the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. It was really good and the audio was either triggered automatically as you walked into a room or you could start it yourself by pressing a button when you were ready to listen. Each room of the palace had a number label that was easily visible, so if for example you wandered into room fifteen and it did not start automatically, you just selected the room number and pressed play.

The language was selected for you as you obtained the headset and player and was collected from you as you left the tour. It was excellent and gave a very comprehensive coverage without being boring, often it pointed out things that you would have missed. It was funny to see lots of people all look up to the ceiling as the voice said "If you look up you can see the chandelier made by.........." The real benefit was the fact that there were no bottlenecks or lots of distracting chatter as you moved through the rooms.

Another device was available for hire if you wanted a guided tour of the rest of the palace area. This resembled a small cricket bat that could be held very comfortably by the ear and gave instructions on where to go. So you could walk along as a couple and still chat whilst the audio link may be telling you to "proceed along the corridor and descend the stairs into the courtyard".

Altogether I found these devices really good and just so long as they are available in good working order I think that they will be an real improvement. They will however need to be well thought out and point people to the main areas of interest and give enough information without becoming long winded and boring, as is often the case of some tour guides who sometimes don't know when to stop.
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Post by Goddess »

Horus wrote:At last Zahi has come up with a good idea :)
No kidding!

It's funny this has come up now, I was only thinking in the last few days (as an afterthought from my Irish trip!) why there wasn't a similar system in place in ALL tourist attractions in Egypt. After all some of these places aren't cheap - and for a similar price in Ireland, you often get a guided tour thrown in for free - either in person by a guide at set times or as an audio tour. And at the very least you're given a map and a sheet of info of relevant things to look out for if you do go it alone.

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Post by FABlux »

I think it is a wonderful idea but won't it put a lot of guides out of work? :(

I hate it at the monuments when you are trying to walk round quietly & get the atmosphere of the place when you get blasted by somebody shouting a commentary to a group, normally in a foreign language, (Italians seem to be the worst) :x

We went to Milestones Museum in Basingstoke Wednesday with Josh & they had the hand held guides which worked well :)

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Post by Horus »

Putting some guides out of work may not be a bad idea :) I agree with Fabby that you can hardly get any peace at some sites due to the babble of guides who hog all the best vantage points and have little or no consideration for the other tourists outside of their own group.

If ever I find myself in the company of a tour guide as in the case of a Nile cruise, I usually make my excuses early on in the holiday and say that I will be doing my own thing around the temple sites. I remember a particular guide we had some years back who would question the group on what he had told them previously day, he was most persistent with one lady who could not remember the name of the sister of Isis, he was the sort who wanted to tell you every little detail and expected you to remember it all. As he persisted with his questioning the lady told him in no uncertain terms "Listen! I am on holiday and not in a bloody school room" :lol:

I think that he just did not grasp the concept that you cannot turn someone into an Egyptologist overnight and that most people just want to hear the main points of interest because either they are not deeply interested beyond their holiday experience, or they are really keen and will know most of the facts for themselves anyway.
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Post by Goddess »

Too true Horus.

A lot of guides need to step up their game anyway, graduating from guiding school does NOT make them an Egyptologist - yet they all act like they are, and it is the bad guides that pull the truly excellent ones down.

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Post by Goddess »

Hmmmm! More info now on this subject, which makes you wonder if it is an improvement or not:

New audio narration system at National Museum

THE Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) will introduce a new electronic audio narration system in the Egyptian Museum as of November 1, Hassan Saadallah has quoted the SCA Secretary-General Zahi Hawass as saying.

The new wireless system feeds visitors, who will be provided with headsets, with information that comes from their guide while touring the different sections of the museum, Hawass said.

Upon entrance, each visitor will be given a tiny receiver and a pair of headphones to use as he/she moves from one section to the next, Hawass said. The guide, who has a mobile trans-receiver, will start the narration about each artifact on display.

"Each receiver works separately from others in use at the same time, which means that visitors can hear the guide's narration on their headphones on an individual basis," Hawass added. The system, he explained, can handle several different narration options at the same time, including many different languages, he added.

The Egyptian Museum will start applying this new system on a large-scale basis as of November 1, he added.

http://www.egyptiangazette.net.eg

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Post by Horus »

Hmmm..... :? sounds like we will be more of a captive audience with little chance of escaping the waffle of the guide.

just imagine the confusion if the signals all gets crossed :P

"And here in the lower gallery we have a stone fragment of a beard believed to have belonged to.......... Neffertiti who was the beautiful wife of........ Belzoni the ex circus strongman famous for his discovery of.......... the Sphinx which is belived to portray the image of one of the most well known Pharoah's .... Zahi Hawas" :lol:
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Post by Ebikatsu »

Excellent move by Zahi :)

You'll be able to walk at your own pace and not get stuck in congested pockets of tourists.

I used one of these in Alcatraz and it was really good and really brought it to life with all the sounds of the prison and prisoners behind the narrators voice.

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Post by Horus »

That's what I thought if you read my original reply :) but this seems as though it is just a way of your own tour guide keeping his own group informed and not the audio commentary that you and I have experienced which was an excellent idea.
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Post by SoCalledEgyptologist »

When I read the first post I was all "yes yes yes!" and then "oh!..." :(

Ok, having the headsets is still better than nothing, I hate guiding in the museum as you loose your voice in about 3 mins having to shout over all the noise, and all the guides are really pushy and rude to other groups :(

Having a recorded info about each item would be best, so people could go around at their own pace! Obviously they'd just need to have all the languages, but I'd be more than willing to do the finnish voiceover if they asked me!
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Post by Horus »

That is exactly what happens in places like the Palace of Versailles :) They set the language up for you before giving you the headset and all it contains is the relevant information about the particular items you will be looking at. You can move around in general tranquility just listening to information about whatever happens to take your fancy at the time, sheer bliss :D
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