The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir marks the 120th anniversary of its inauguration with a 30-day exhibition of its basement collection at the foyer of the museum.
Sabah Abdel-Razzek, the Director General of the Museum, said that the objects have been carefully selected and are being displayed for the first time.
Some of the more remarkable pieces on display include a wooden lid of a coffin from the Late Period and a mummy, both belonging to a woman named Isis-Weret. The lid is decorated with inscriptions showing the deceased in the form of a deity together with chapters from the Book of the Dead showing the judgment of the deceased and the mummification process.
Also on display is a limestone head of a statue of queen Tiye, wife of king Amenhotep III and mother of king Akhenaten, wearing a wig.
Free guided tours for Egyptians will also be available for today’s visitors in addition to educational and art activities for children.
More than a 100 years ago the khedive Abbas Helmi II, attended by princes and government officials, cut the ribbon at the museum’s opening.
Since then, kings, queens, presidents, scholars and thousands upon thousands of ordinary visitors have come to the Egyptian Museum to gaze in awe at the marvellous works of art that fill every niche and corner.
The museum had implemented a renovation scheme in accordance with the original plan of the museum's French architect Marcel Dourgon who was selected following a competition in 1895.
These renovations had been carried out by the Egyptian scientific committee and the museum’s inspectors in collaboration with five European museums: the Turin Museum in Italy, the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, and the Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden in Germany.
As part of the present renovation work, the glass in the rooftop windows has been replaced with glass that prevents UV radiation from the sun entering the museum.
The fountain in the open-air display in the museum’s garden has also been renovated. Originally, the fountain's internal walls had been painted in red and light green, while its floor tiles, designed to look like limestone, had been decorated with particular patterns.
The installation of a new lighting system and the introduction of new explanatory labels for the artefacts were also part of the development process. In addition, the development process saw the renovation of the Daily Life hall, which was carried out in collaboration with the Australian Embassy in Cairo.
The position of some of the more significant pieces have been changed to make them more conspicuous. These pieces include, among others, the statues of the kings of the Old Kingdom Dynasty such as Djoser, Senefru, Khufu, Khafre and Menkawre ; the Meidum Geese painting; and the blue tiles of the step pyramid.
The museum also witnessed the inauguration of a new hall for the treasured collection of nobles Yuya and Thuya, the grandparents of king Akhenaten.
The Egyptian Museum is the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East; it houses the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world.
The museum displays an extensive collection of artefacts from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era.