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In contemporary Western consumerism, there are two widespread perceptions or experiences of the Museum, in one case as a dusty chamber of dusty exhibits and stores, and in the other as an overcrowded gallery packed with overtired tourists. In these stereotypical extremes the Museum can seem a house of death. Although the Museum exists ostensibly to preserve objects for the study of the world and its past, Pierre Bourdieu has identified its primary social function as the reinforcement of class barriers (for a discussion see Merriman 1989).

Egypt offers a different and perhaps brighter origin, history and future of the Museum.




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