We must save Philæ... (1)
Over the years, the Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth has built up an extraordinary archival patrimony. Central to it is the rich correspondence of Jean Capart and of his associates and successors. All the great names in Egyptology worldwide from the 20th century are represented, in addition to numerous other prominent personalities from the political, scientific, or artistic world in Belgium and abroad. In total there are thousands of letters (sent and received) between the chairmen of the association and their correspondents, regular or occasional, known or anonymous.
In addition to this mass of documents, there are manuscripts and proofs of the books by Jean Capart, texts of his articles and lectures, as well as excavation diaries and reports, as well as plans, posters, photographs, drawings, caricatures, etc. Additionally there are the archives of the International Association of Papyrologists, which the Fondation also preserves. In other words, it is an irreplaceable testimony to the history of Egyptology, papyrology, and the museum world; Belgian, European, and global intellectual history in a nutshell.
And yet, despite their richness, the archives of the Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth are in danger. Due to a lack of material and human resources, they cannot be preserved in a proper manner nor be made available to researchers. This is also the case for the Capart family archives and other private archives that house treasures such as photographs, sound recordings, films, and diaries, in which their ancestor recorded his travels to Egypt, to the United States, or elsewhere. Although they are scattered today, these archives should be collected in one place to prevent that they become lost forever.
But it does not have to come to that. Simple solutions exist, but they must be put in motion: the archives should be collected, organized, inventoried, digitized, and housed properly. They should also be revalued and put back into the spotlight. Whether a scientist or a layman, the public has the right to make this exceptional heritage its own. The Jean Capart Fund is not lacking in ideas by which to make this happen. But for this purpose, it needs important financial support. Your financial support!
Download the pdf presentation The JEAN CAPART FUND