Big Problems at the Cairo Museum

In the early 1970's I was in Cairo at the museum when museum security noticed that Tutankahmen's gold staff was missing. This caused great panic where museum personnel were fired only to find out later that it had been carelessly kicked under a case raised off the floor. Or so it was reported... Apparently things have not improved in the past 40 years as another scandal has rocked a Cairo museum. This time the artwork is van Gogh's 1887 "Poppy Flowers" which was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum after officials discovered that no alarms were working, and only seven of 43 cameras were operating. Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud told Egypt's state news agency Sunday that the thieves used a box cutter to remove the painting from its frame. He blamed the theft on the museum's lax security measures, calling them "for the most part feeble and superficial." He said the museum guards' daily rounds at closing time were inadequate and did not meet minimum security requirements to protect internationally renowned works of art. Mahmoud also said his office had warned Egypt's museums to implement stricter security controls ... More