Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)

In Cairo, not far from the Great Pyramids of Giza, the grandiose event is taking place - the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

In April 2019, due to the Ministry of Antiquities of Egypt and the assistance of the Centre for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CESRAS), the Creative Director of ISIDA Project was granted the unique opportunity to visit the construction site of the museum as well as some laboratories of the Conservation Center.

The scale of this incradibly grand structure is striking one's mind. 

The rules for entering the site are strict enough. And although the photography and video are strictly forbidden, the ISIDA Project was allowed to make some pictures, demonstrating the process of construction of the biggest Museum in the World.

Lets mention some interesting facts, related to the construction of the Museum:

  • The architectural project of the Irish company was selected from 1,500 applicants from 80 different countries in 2003. After coordination of the drawings and schemes with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in 2008, the company began to clear the area and dig the foundationa pit for the future Museum. In 2010, the Government of Egypt signed a contract with construction company. The initial estimated cost of the project made $ 550 million. Due to the revolutionary changes in Arab countries and change of the political leaders in Egypt, the planned for the year 2012 completion of the Museum failed, and the budget rose up to $ 1 billion. The opening of the museum was postponed. The new opening date is set for 2020.

  • The territory of the Museum will be connected to the Giza plateau and together will represent a huge complex, covering more than 50 hectares, which will be entirely devoted to the History of Ancient Egypt.

  • The Grand Egyptian Museum will exhibit a complete collection (more than 5,000) of artifacts, found in the Tomb of King Tutankhamun. Visitors will see many items, that had never been exhibited before, but were kept in museum storerooms throughout all Egypt.

  • The artifacts, found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun are now restored and cleaned of wax in a special laboratory of the Conservation Center. This wax was applied by archaeologists in the early XX century in order to preserve the findings. As it turned out now, this was not the best way for preservation, but at that time it was the only one.

  • It was allowed to take several photos in the laboratory, where the burial stuff, such as chariots and other massive artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb are now restored.

    Below are some photos of Creative Director of ISIDA Project with the Museum specialist, who provided detailed information and conducted an informative tour around the future Museum.

  • Japanese rice paper is used for different restoration purposes, among which is preparation of the ancient papyruses for exposure.

  • If, for example, a statue or other artifact has missing parts, they will not be filled with concrete, as it was done before. Exceptions will make the only cases where such intervention is necessary for the fixity of the heavy monuments.

  • Restoration of ancient artifacts is provided with the maximum use of the original materials. For example, when reconstructing necklaces from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, a mixture of fragments, found nearby is used for reconstructing the missing parts. Due to the modern technology it is possible to detect the smallest fragments of beads out of the "ancient dust".

  • The heavy artifacts, such as statues, sarcophagus and stelaes made of granite and other hard types of stone are restored in the Laboratory of Heavy Artifacts. For example, the head of Userkaf, which was previously exposed in the Cairo Museum on Tahrir, is now under the restoration in the Laboratory of Heavy Artifacts of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

It was very interesting to visit the site, which is still closed for the tourists, to enter the laboratories, where you can see the artifacts closely without any glass cases.

Looking forward to the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum!

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