Meet our staff: George Boutros

19 June 2013

Earlier this week George Boutros, a security guard at the University, donated several copies of papyrus papers from his native Egypt to the University museums school education program.

George used to work as a tour guide in Egypt, so when he went to check out a fire alarm (thankfully, a false alert) in one of the rooms under the Nicholson Museum a few months ago, his eyes were drawn to some papyrus in the room.

On looking more closely, he noticed that the papyrus only depicted pictures of kings and queens, unlike more elaborate versions that tell myths or stories.

"They were also printed and not hand painted, which makes them seem very fake," George explains. "So, I decided that when I next went to Egypt I would buy some original copies and donate them to the museum."

"I wanted to do this because I was very happy you guys love our civilisation and old history."

George's gift will be used to inspire school students who visit the museum as part of the Sydney University Museums education programs for school groups from kindergarten to Year 12.

"The papyrus copies will become an important part of our education program, allowing visiting school students to feel papyrus and to discuss Egyptian mythology and artistic traditions," said Dr Craig Barker, manager of the education and public programs at Sydney University Museums.

George's visit to the Nicholson's storeroom reminded him of his work as a tour guide and meeting "beautiful people from different nationalities who travelled thousands of miles to visit historical places in my homeland and learn about it."

Now, George is one of many staff at the University who find themselves thousands of miles from their homeland.

"Honestly I was planning to immigrate to Canada but my luck brought me here to Australia. God only knows if I was in Canada I would be a frozen mummy by now because of the cold weather - which I hate!"