After more than three years of renovation, Egypt has announced the completion of the first development phase of the iconic Egyptian Museum in Cairo (EMC).
Entitled “Transforming the Egyptian Museum of Cairo,” the EMC development project that began in 2019 was funded with a grant of 3 million euros from the European Union. The renovation involved enhancing and renewing the museum display system including the lighting and showcases of some of the gallery rooms and halls.
The project was carried out through collaboration between an Egyptian archaeological committee and a consortium of five major European museums: the Louvre Museum in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Egyptian Museum in Italy’s Turin, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin, and the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands’ Leiden.
During a ceremony held on Monday evening, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa described the EMC which was opened in 1902 as “the oldest museum of Egyptian antiquities in the world and an icon of the ancient Egyptian civilization over 120 years (since its opening).”
“The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir was and will remain one of the most important museums in the world. It is a destination for Egyptian visitors, foreign tourists and antiquities lovers from all countries of the world,” the minister said.
In his remarks, Christian Berger, head of the EU delegation to Egypt, referred to the EMC as “the mother of all Egyptian museums” and “a beautiful building housing a world-class collection on behalf of humanity.”
The EMC development project was a complex project because of the scope of the work undertaken, which includes developing a masterplan for the museum’s new display in five galleries, producing a detailed study of the building and updating the information labels for the public, Berger noted.
The two-floor EMC hosts more than 180,000 objects of iconic artifacts and ancient Egyptian masterpieces from prehistory to the Graeco-Roman periods, including colossal statues, busts, statuettes, coffins, reliefs, stelae and papyri.
Some precious pieces were transferred from the EMC to new museums in Cairo to enrich their collections, including over 20 ancient royal mummies to the newly-opened NMEC and a collection of famous King Tutankhamun to the recently-built GEM.
However, “it still contains treasures that compensate for the collections taken away from it, such as the Tutankhamun’s collection and the royal mummies,” Ali Abdel Halim, the EMC director general, told Xinhua during the ceremony.
“They are all Egyptian museums of which we’re proud. Each of them has its own nature and they complement each other,” he said, describing the museum in Cairo as “the mother of all the world’s museums containing Egyptian antiquities.” ■