At the premises of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking Giza Plateau dozens of journalists and top antiquities officials will witness the signing of a contract between the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) and Belgium construction companies in Egypt, who have been selected according to technical requirements agreed in a bid held early last month.
MSA Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Aly told Ahram Online that the third phase of the GEM rehabilitation scheme includes the construction of the museum’s main exhibition halls, which will display 120,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts. Featured in this wing of the museum will be the Ramses II colossus statue, transferred in 2005 from Ramses square Downtown Cairo, and his daughter’s colossus statue Merit-Amun, now on display in the Sohag open-air museum.
Ibrahim asserted that construction work will start next week and will continue until the museum’s official opening in March 2015.
He pointed out that the first and second phases of the renovation of the GEM have been completed and included construction of the labs, storehouses, power station and firefighting unit.
So far, Ibrahim said, 10,000 objects have been transferred to the GEM from archaeological museums and sites all over Egypt . A further 20,000 objects will be moved to the museum before its official opening.
Hussein Bassir, director of the GEM, told Ahram online that the GEM would be home to some of Egypt’s most cherished artifacts.
The top attractions, Bassir continued, will include the golden king Tutankhamun as well as some of the most celebrated of ancient Egypt’s kings, queens and nobles such as Hetepheres, mother of the Pharaoh Khufu, Yuya and Thuya, the grandfathers of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Senedjem, the principal artist of Pharaoh Ramses II. The royal mummies and the treasures of Tanis will also be displayed. The last section, Bassir added, will be themed around religion, language, the army, death rituals and the afterlife.
The construction work will include a conference centre with an auditorium seating 1,000 that will be equipped to house theatrical performances, concerts, conferences and business meetings. The main auditorium will be supplemented with seminar rooms, meeting spaces, a multi-purpose hall along with an open plan gallery for accompanying exhibitions. Bassir asserted that a special section for children will be created in order to encourage young people to learn about their heritage