Egyptian Museum in Tahrir celebrates 115th anniversary

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 29 Nov 2017

The antiquities minister inaugurated a temporary exhibition of 86 artefacts that had never before been put on display

Performance at the Museum. (Photo: Ayman Barayez)

The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square celebrated on Tuesday evening its 115th anniversary with a ceremony attended by high-level government officials and foreign dignitaries.

The event was attended by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, as well as the ministers of social solidarity, investment and international cooperation, local development, planning, industry and tourism.

Also in attendance were the governor of Giza, members of parliament and foreign ambassadors.

A guest admires the newly discovered mummy photo by Aymen Barayez

the trowel of the foundation stone. Photo BY Nevine El-Aref

El-Enany told attendees that with the partial opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, which are scheduled to open at the end of 2018, many have been concerned about the fate of "our beloved and iconic" museum in Tahrir Square, which has impressed all its visitors since its opening in 1902.

"I would like to take this opportunity to make it very clear that the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir will never die," he asserted.

El-Enany explained that the museum had been over-flowing with thousands of artefacts, making it difficult to display all the items in the manner they deserve.

The minister added that moving many of its items to other museums will ensure that the displays chosen to remain will shine more.

El-Enany said that the museum has undergone several improvements in the last two years, including an upgrade of the lighting system, a restroom renovation, the hiring of a new cleaning company, the reopening of the gift shop, and the relabeling of displays.

The museum is also now open to the public in the evening on Sundays and Thursdays.

A new mobile application has also been launched to help visitors navigate the museum and enjoy the highlights of the collection.

celebratory medallion depicting Abbas Helmi II. photo Nevine El-Aref

During the ceremony, El-Enany inaugurated a temporary exhibition of 86 artefacts that had never before been put on display.

The exhibit includes the museum’s original blueprints, which were designed by French architect Marcel Durvein, as well as photographs showing Abbas Helmi II – who ruled as Khedive of Egypt from 1892 to 1914 – placing the building’s foundation stone in the presence of princes and other high-ranking officials.

The exhibit also includes photographs showing the different stages of the building’s construction, the pen used by Abbas Helmi II to write a few words in the museum’s guest book, and a memorial stamp and coin from the time.

The tools and instruments that were used in laying the museum’s foundation stone in 1897 and those used in signing the khedival decree to construct the museum are also on display. These include the pickaxe, trowel, hammer and a wooden porringer embellished with silver decorative elements that were used for the opening, as well as the feather pen and inkwell used by the khedive.

The old clock. Photo by Nevine El-Aref

A collection of maps, medallions and photographs of the construction of the museum are also among the objects on display, as well as copper clocks that once decorated the desk of French archaeologist Gaston Maspero, the first director of the museum.

El-Enany cuts the ribbon of the exhibition. photo by Aymen Barayez

A newly discovered Roman mummy with a painted funerary mask in Fayoum was also on display, as well as a collection of newly recovered artefacts from the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier this month, the ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi returned to Egypt a collection of almost 400 artefacts that were stolen and illegally smuggled into Sharjah.

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