After a seven-month hiatus, restoration work of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in central Cairo is finally set to begin.
The MIA was subjected to severe destruction and damage in January after a car bomb exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate. The blast of the bomb destroyed the façade of the building and the nearby Egyptian National Library and Archives building.
After several meetings and discussion, The United Arab of Emirates offered to restore the whole museum in collaboration with foreign experts from Italy, Germany and the United States.
Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the Emirates will not only provide the required budget to return the MIA to its original lure but to provide all security equipment and state-of-the-art showcases.
The restoration will also include the renovation of the museum’s walls, columns and foundations.
He went on to say that the museum halls and treasured collection will be arranged as they were before with the exception of the souvenir hall that was located in the core of the museum. “It will be relocated to another place at the end of visitors’ path,” explained Eldamaty.
He said that in mid-September a delegation of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM) is to visit Egypt and embark on a tour of the MIA to inspect its recent situation and suggest ideas for its restoration. Collaboration methods are to be also discussed.
a hall inside the MIA before damaged
The Museum of Islamic Art was home to an exceptional collection of rare woodwork and plaster artefacts, as well as metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textiles objects of all Islamic periods from all over the world.
The museum is a two-story building, with the lower floor containing an exhibition hall that displays 2,500 artefacts in 25 galleries. The second floor and the basement are to be used for storage.
The blast of the car-bomb not only destroyed the façade of the building, but also damaged the large columns at its front.
The interior of the museum was topsy-turvy, with a number of ceilings inside the building collapsing, and some artefacts being damaged.
Many of the glass window panes that once decorated the building have also been shattered, and damage has been caused across the façade, which has lost some of its decorative casing.
The authentic wooden gate of the museum inlaid with silver and iron geometric motifs has been totally destroyed, while the adjacent annex built in a similar architectural style to house the administrative offices after the museum’s restoration and re-inauguration in 2010 has also been damaged.
Now a new hope is in the air.
Damages inside the MIA