Celebrating the 117th Anniversary of the Egyptian Museum

Celebrating the 117th Anniversary of the Egyptian Museum

The Ministry of Antiquities believes in the importance of the role of the Egyptian Museum, and so continues to support it in its mission. The Ministry has not spared any effort in developing and maintaining the museum as one of the most important museums in the world.

          H.E. the Minister of Antiquities: The results of the CT scans conducted on three mummies from the cachette of Asasif proved that they are in a good state of preservation.

          The Egyptian museum in Tahrir celebrated its 117th anniversary yesterday, on the 15th of November 2019, in the presence of H.E. Minster of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El‑Enany, advisor to the President of the Republic, Lt. General Abdel Aziz Seif, and the Governor of Cairo, and five current governors, among whom was Dr. Nabila Makram. In attendance also were forty foreign and Arab ambassadors and their families, dignitaries, and artists, including Yousra, Hala Sedky, Nihal Salam, and a number of senior journalists  and media reporters.

          The celebration included many events, including the opening of two temporary exhibitions. The first, located in the temporary exhibition hall on the first floor of the museum, is on education in ancient Egypt. The second, located on the second floor, displays a selection of mummies from mummy cachettes. The celebrations included a tour to inspect the project for reviving the Egyptian museum, which aims at restoring the museum’s building interior, as it had originally been designed by French architect Marcel Dornion in the late 19th century. The ambassadors and ministers expressed their admiration for the development of the museum.

          In his speech, H.E. the Minister of Antiquities welcomed the attendees, stressing that the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir is itself a historical monument encompassing a civilizational heritage of one of the oldest civilizations in human history. 

          H.E. the Minister of Antiquities also expressed the Ministry of Antiquities concern with the importance and role of the Egyptian Museum, and the necessity of supporting it so that it continues its mission in preserving Egyptian history. The Ministery has spared no effort in developing and maintain the museum, since it is one of the most important museums in the world attracting not only tourists, but students, professors, researchers, archaeologists, and egyptologists from all around the world. The museum, thus, is the greatest of ambassadors of Egypt, its message relating through its exhibitions and displays the story of the Egyptian civilization to its admirers. H.E. the Minister took this opportunity to announce the opening of the two exhibitions on the occasion of the museums 117th anniversary.

          In his speech H.E. went over the ongoing development projects in the Egyptian museum, which are being executed by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, in partnership with the European Union. These projects were announced last June and are expected to take place throughout the next three years with a grant worth 3.1 million euros from the European union. The project is creating, for the first time, a partnership between six of the most important museums in Europe: Turin, Louvre, British Museum, Berlin Museum, Leiden Museum. Institut Français D’archéologie Orientale was also involved in developing a new strategic vision for the museum and establishing a display system, restoration and conservation labs, as well as other facilities. These facilities are being established in accordance with international standards. This is with the aim of accommodating the largest possible number of visitors. The Ministry has completed the first phase of the development project, with the support from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The second phase was initiated with the support of the European Union, with the aim of completing a comprehensive restoration of the museum. This includes: The museum’s roofs, the truss at the top of the pool, the dome above the main entrance, the glass surfaces in the side halls, changing all the museum glass with Triplex, repairs in floors and walls, and the restoration of decorations and color. 

          H.E. Dr. Khaled El‑Enany pointed out in his latest speech the developments in scientific studies and the results of the first research phase carried out by the Ministry and its specialized scientific team. This research includes studies on the mummies of al-Asasif cachette. CT scans were conducted on three mummies, a man, a woman, and a child, revealing their respective ages of 50, 35, and 10. H.E the Minister said that the second phase of research will start immediately after the completion of the first stage and will include DNA analyses on the mummies to see if they share a kin relationship.

          H.E. also announced the launching of the first phase of the website “Antiquities of Egypt”, which aims to introduce archaeological sites and Egyptian museums. He also thanked the team working in the Ministry of Antiquities that has worked hard in cooperation with the Ministry of Communication and Link Development Company, which specializes in web design. This collaborative team worked to develop a strategy aimed primarily at the development and improvement of cultural tourism services and to show the value of heritage monuments. The first phase presents data for 50 archaeological sites, which will increase in the coming period.

          At the end of his speech, H.E. Dr. Khaled El‑Enany congratulated his team of trustees, archaeologists, renovators, technicians, and all workers in the Ministry of Antiquities on their great feat. He also thanked the Ministery’s Egyptian and foreign partners, as well as Enricia Company and its staff for sponsoring this important event. He pointed out that the 118th anniversary celebration next year will coincide with the the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

          For his part, Engineer Ahmed al-Adway, Executive Director of Enricia Company, said: “It is an affirmation of Enricia’s role in promoting the cultural scene in Egypt. It is a unique opportunity to sponsor the 117th anniversary of the Egyptian Museum, for culture and tourism largely affects Egypt’s image in the Middle East and in the rest of the world. We are proud that we are not only making a mark in the real estate sector, but also in strengthening the Egyptian economy by promoting tourism.” Al-Adawy finally expressed his gratitude to H.E. the Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Khalid Al-Anani, for organizing this huge event.

-- Exhibition on education in ancient Egypt:

The exhibition coincides with the Egyptian government’s announcement that 2019 is the year of education, underling the role of education as one of the pillars of sustainable development towards a better future. It presents a unique collection of more than 70 artifacts that are being displayed for the first time, some of which are still used today in slightly different ways. In an effort to increase public interaction  with the museum, a special education program entitled “The Museum Race” has been implemented. This is a program used in many international museums, with the aim of exposing children of different ages to historical objects by using puzzles related to the course of the exhibition’s narrative.

          The “Interactive Egyptian Museum Race” has been prepared in the form of an Arabic and English booklet containing a series of missions to discover hidden answers in the exhibition hall. Contestants need to find the solutions by following the exhibition’s story. The booklet also included some puzzles, coloring pages, and other activities that linked to the themes of the exhibition.

-- The Mummy Cachettes exhibition:

The exhibition includes a selection from four mummy cachettes: Deir al‑Bahari, Tomb of King Amenhotep II, Bab al‑Gasus, and Asasif.

- The Deir al-Bahari cachette: Discovered in 1881 inside tomb 320 in the wadi situated south of Deir al‑Bahari, this cachette contained a number of royal mummies, including the mummy of Seqenenre Tao, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, Ramses I, Sety I, Ramses II, Ramses III, and Ramses IX, as well as the mummies of queens from the Eighteenth to the Twenty‑first Dynasties, such as Queen Ahmose‑Nefertari.

- The cachette in the tomb of King Amenhotep II: Discovered in 1898 inside one of the auxiliary rooms in the tomb of King Amenhotep II in the Valley of the Kings, this cachette included the mummies of Amenhotep II, Amenhotep III, Thutmose I, Merenptah, Sety I, Ramses IV, Ramses V, Ramses VI, and Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep II.

- The cachette of Bab al‑Gasus: Discovered in 1891 beneath the courtyard of the temple of Hatshepsut in Deir al‑Bahari. It included several mummies and coffins belonging to priests and priestesses of the god Amun, dating to the Twenty‑first​ Dynasty.

- The cachette of Asasif: Discovered by the Egyptian archaeological mission last October in the Asasif necropolis, west of Luxor, where 30 coffins of colored wood were found. They belonged to priests, priestesses and children dating to the Twenty‑second​ Dynasty.

-- Reviving the Egyptian Museum:

The initiative to revive the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir was launched in 2012, under the patronage of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities  and with the participation of the European Union and the International Environment Quality Company. The aim of the initiative, after having received the approval of the Permanent Committee of Antiquities, is to restore the Egyptian Museum to its original state as designed by the French architect Marcel Dornion in the late nineteenth century. The restoration of the building was carried out in phases that included the restoration of the walls, floors, ceilings, and glass. The restoration of the user floor is completed. The initiative also included educational tours for special needs school children. Restoration of the ground floor is underway, expected to be opened in late 2020.