CAIRO: Director-General of the Egyptian Museum Mahmoud al-Halwagy rumored water damage after a photo of water leaking into a display circulated on social media this week.
The photo shows water leaked into a showcase displaying an alabaster head in the museum’s ground floor, and followed a few days of rain in the capital.
In a phone call with ON TV Saturday, Halwagy said the photo was “old,” asserting that the artifacts in the Egyptian museum are safe. However, he did not mention how old the photo is nor how the water got there.
“The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, house of the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities, is the first purpose-built museum edifice in the world. It was designed in the 17th Century Neoclassical style rigidly adhering to canons of form that were derived mainly from classical antiquity,” archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Saturday.
The museum was originally designed with series of windows all the way through the upper floor along with ventilation openings at its ceiling, where rainwater might leak through the museum, said Sabban.
The museum was looted on January 28, 2011 amid the security lapse followed the uprising the toppled Hosni Mubarak. Looters ripped off the head of two mummies, and damaged and stole over 40 artifacts, some of which were recovered in 2013.
Media outlets aired photos of the museum looted with the glass of the windows broken, which suggests that looters broke into the museum through its windows and ventilation openings.
The building boasts 107 halls and consists of two levels; the ground floor, where artifacts are displayed in a chronological order and the Upper floor featuring categorized artifacts, Sabban added.
In 2010, the government approved a comprehensive project aimed at restoring the halls of the museum to their original condition from when the museum was inaugurated in 1902.
In December, Halwagy announced the completion of restoration work in four halls dedicated to showcase the treasures of Tutankhamen in the upper floor. The renovation work included removing dust from internal halls, painting the walls and re-tiling floors.