Visitors of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) have gained a new talent as they stepped their first steps into the museum's garden. They were welcomed with curators, restorers and teachers from the German University in Cairo (GUC) who were standing armed with white gowns and gloves before clay and cement dough.
"A workshop showing and teaching the MIA visitors how the early Islamic era artisans and workers have fabricated the magnificent porcelain and ceramic pots, pans and other decorative elements that are on show on the MIA, is organized," Ahmed El-Shoki, Director General of the MIA told Ahram Online adding that the workshop was established in collaboration with the GUC and came within the framework of the MIA's plan to attract more visitors and improve the role of the museum as an educative institution.
Hundreds of children and youngsters, asserted El-Shoki, attended the workshop and had the opportunity to work with their hands and fabricated their own vases or decorative elements. A guided tour inside the MIA in Arabic and English was also provided.
A child crafting his own pot from clay
MIA, in downtown Cairo's Bab El-Khalq area has opened its doors to visitors on mid January three years of closure for restoration and repair.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany inaugurated the museum, in a ceremony attended by other top officials.
The MIA sustained severe damage in January 2014 when a car bomb exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate building. The blast destroyed the façade of the building, several columns, display cases and artefacts, as well as the nearby Egyptian National Library and Archives building.
In 2015, nearly a year after the blast, Cairo received a grant of EGP 50 million from the United Arab Emirates to restore the museum, in collaboration with Egyptian and foreign experts from Italy, Germany and the United States.
The UNESCO donated $100,000 for the restoration of the museum’s laboratories, while the Italian government contributed €800,000 to purchase new display cases and provide training courses to the museum’s curators.
The American Research Centre in Cairo, in collaboration with the Swiss government, contributed EGP 1 million to restore the museum’s façade.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, as well as the Metropolitan Museums in New York, Germany and Austria assisted with trainings for the MIA's curators and restorers.
“The inauguration of the MIA embodies Egypt’s victory against terrorism, its capability and willingness to repair what terrorism has damaged, and to stand against terrorist attempts to destroy its heritage,” El-Enany said at the opening ceremony