American Research Centre in Egypt (Irfana Hashmi)
On an ‘anything but normal’ work day, I went to the Egyptian National Archives where I found the remains of thousands of manuscripts, books and maps from the Institut d’Égypte laid across its front lawns, in pick-up trucks double-parked on the Corniche el-Nil Road, and on the floor of the lobby of the archives.
When I entered the building, I knew that I would not conduct research that day, not after seeing the activities downstairs. It was another exceptional day in Cairo, like many others preceding it, during my fellowship tenure in Egypt.
In a joint effort, staff and volunteers from the Egyptian National Library and Archives and the American University in Cairo's Rare Books and Special Collections Library were sorting through the remains of the historic Institut d’Égypte collection.