2019 Programme sponsored by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport


Improving Skills and Management Collection Care in Monastic Libraries in Egypt

The programme was a part of the project whose aim is to preserve the Egyptian cultural heritage funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Location: Deir al-Surian Library, Wadi el-Natrun

May and November 2019

Tutors: Giovanni Pagani, Elizabeth Sobczynski, Francois Vinourd

Four separate training opportunities were offered to monks caring for monastic collections during the May and November Conservation Field Campaign in Deir al-Surian. The training hub established in the library of Deir al-Surian allowed the selected monks to gain specific skills, knowledge and experience in the following areas:    

1. Collection management: how to successfully manage a collection digitally, and understanding the significance of cataloguing

2. Preservation methodology and improving conservation skills: understand the methods used to conserve monastic collections and learn conservation basics, including treatments to prevent further damage to paper and parchment

3.   Introduction to ethics of collection care, practical information about housekeeping and refurbishment of books

4.   Introduction to ethics of conservation: learn about judgment  and treatment justification

5. Importance of sharing, creating dialogue and outreach activities: understand the purpose of conservation and how to share with others the significance of the collection

From the pool of the Deir al-Surian applicants, three monks with relevant skills demonstrated a clear interest in cultural heritage and were selected to learn more about collection care and conservation. This training was delivered in partnership with the head librarian, Fr. Amoon, through four 3-hour interactive training modules, which focused on one of the history of the library; the study of Syriac, Coptic and Byzantine bindings; collection management and the practicalities of rudimentary treatment of paper folia.

By attending these training sessions, the monks learned more about the significance of the monastery, technicalities of conservation work, and how to effectively provide practical support to Fr. Amoon in the running and management of the collection.

Additionally, we held a workshop in the monastery so that monks from other monasteries had the opportunity to come and learn about Deir al-Surian’s heritage and practical approaches to its collections’ preservation. We are pleased to announce that nine monks from monasteries in the Western Desert as well as St. Paul monastery on the Red Sea attended the course.

Through these training exercises, we have successfully shared our purpose and work with monks from various monasteries and achieved our goals of sharing the significance of Deir al-Surian and the collection we are conserving, as well as how to continue to preserve in years to come.

2012 Programme in Museology and Conservation 

The National Library & Archives 

The Ministry of Antiquities


To view the Training Programme (view the PDF)

To view photographs from the 2012 Training Programme, please visit the following link

The 2012 Training Programme in Paper and Book Conservation was organized in partnership with Leiden University and was a follow up to a very successful 2010 programme for professionals from the leading museums, libraries and monastic collections in Egypt. The programme was supported by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development. It was hosted by the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the National Library & Archives of Egypt.

Aim of the Programme The aim of the Programme was to educate museum personnel to be able to handle their own conservation needs in order to be less dependent of foreign support. We proposed to widen their understanding about the history and technology of the Coptic and Islamic book and to update their knowledge in modern requirements of conservation. There are relatively few opportunities for museum professionals in Egypt to refresh their skills and update their knowledge of developments in museology and conservation. The Levantine Foundation bespoke 2nd Programme was to meet this training need.

2010 Programme in Museology and Conservation

The National Library & Archives 

The Ministry of Antiquities


In 2010 The Levantine Foundation delivered hugely successful training programme in Museology and Conservation organised in partnership with Leiden University, The Supreme Council of Antiquities and The National Library & Archives of Egypt.

The course consisting of four programmes was generously sponsored by The Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD).

The course consisting of lectures and practical workshops was developed to provide training and technical support, for museum professionals and graduates in conservation/restoration from the leading museums and universities in Cairo. It was open to everyone who was then employed by a public institution or was seeking employment in public or private sector.


The Levantine Foundation registered in England 4506398, in The Arab Republic of Egypt under Law No 84 (2002). Registered charity number 1094436.