CAIRO: The Egyptian Museum Director-General Mahmoud al-Halwagy announced Sunday the completion of restoration work in four halls dedicated to showcase the treasures of Tutankhamen.
“The four halls have been returned to their original glory and condition in which they appeared when the museum was inaugurated in 1902. The museum’s renovation work included removing the dust of time in the internal halls, painting the walls and covering the floors with tiles of its original colors and patterns,” Halwagy told The Cairo Post Sunday.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty and Ambassador James Moran, Head of the EU delegation to Egypt are scheduled to inaugurate the renovated sections on Monday, Halwagy added.
The renovation of the museum, and other archaeological sites in Egypt, aims to draw back tourists after four years of political turmoil that caused a severe blow to Egypt’s tourism industry and to its economy as a whole.
Tourism accounts for more than 11 percent of Egypt’s GDP and nearly 20 percent of its foreign currency revenues.
In November 2013, former Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim had initiated a comprehensive renovation project for the museum that includes rearranging its artifacts, updating its lighting, fire safety and security systems to meet international standards, Director of the Archaeological Sites Development Department Ahmed Mutawa told The Cairo Post Sunday.
“The project, with a cost estimated at $ 3.4 million, is being funded by the German government, which will also provide the musicological experts to assist the Egyptian museum curators, said Mutawa.
“The project’s master plan involves replacing the current showcases with new humidity-controlled ones to provide a proper storage atmosphere for the artifacts, and changing the window glass to control the light inside the museum and prevent pollution,”according to Mutawa.
The museum was looted during the January 25 Revolution. Looters ripped off the head of two mummies, and damaged and stole over 40 artifacts, some of which were recovered in 2013.
The renovation project also includes the demolition of the adjacent National Democratic Party’s (NDP) headquarters and replacing it with a garden and an open-air museum, according to Mutawa.
Thousands of the Egyptian Museum’s artifacts, including the treasures of Tutankhamen, will be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, currently under construction, located near the Giza Pyramids and scheduled to be inaugurated in 2018, former Head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities Ahmed Sharaf told The Cairo Post.
“The New Kingdom period (1580 B.C.-1080 B.C.) mummies, currently on display at a separate section in the Egyptian museum, are scheduled to be transferred in mid- 2015 to the National Museum for Egyptian Civilization, with its first phase inaugurated earlier this month,” Sharaf added.