Museum collections are often perceived as static entities hidden away in storerooms or trapped behind showcases. By focusing on the dynamic histories of museum collections new research reveals their pivotal role in shaping a wide range of social relations. Over time and across space the interactions between these artefacts and the people and institutions who made, traded, collected and exhibited them have generated complex networks of material and social agency. This class will draw on a broad range of source materials to explore the cross cultural interactions which have created museum collections.As European nation-states came of age in the nineteenth century, museums and archaeology played critical roles in constructing each nation’s ideas of its distinctive heritage and identity. A theoretical overview of those historical elements will be at the basis of a more conscious reflection on the role of contemporary museums, both in Europe and in Egypt. How museums deal with their history? How can we define their identity’ What is their future? How should a museum tackle ethical issues?