The Grand Egyptian Museum is one of the world’s largest museums totally dedicated to a single civilisation – a museum that is built on the plateau of the pyramids of Giza.
The museum project is said to be part of the Giza 2030 master-plan, which includes a makeover of the Pyramids Plateau in order to boost tourism.
The idea of the Grand Egyptian Museum was first announced in 1992 and the actual foundation was laid in 2002. According to reports, the museum is now just over 90% complete. The Egyptian government officials are saying that it could possible officially open by November this year.
It’s been said the Grand Egyptian Museum is set to attract roughly five million visitors a year – 15,000 per day – which is more than three times the number of people who visit the current museum today.
The location of the Grand Egyptian Museum is significant – it allows for easy access to Cairo and with a rich cultural history on its doorstep. The idea here is that it will serve as a gateway between the modern world and the ancient one.
Challenges faced so far
Over the years, the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum has faced many challenges which meant that the opening has been pushed back multiple times. Initially, the grand opening was meant to be in 2011!
The museum announced in 2018 that it would finally be opening in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic meant further postponement.
In April 2020, the museum’s Facebook page posted the following statement:
“The President has directed a postponement of all construction activities and openings of major national projects that were to be carried out during the current year 2020 to the next year 2021. This directive includes both the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC).”
In February 2021, the Grand Egyptian Museum said that almost all of the construction work on the engineering facilities was complete. At the same time, it announced that it is planning to open in the last quarter of 2021. However, this has now been pushed back to this year.
What you will see at the Grand Egyptian Museum
The museum will explore around 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian history through its 100,000-strong collection of artefacts – this makes it the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation. If you’re looking at Egypt tours, then this site will be right at the top of your list.
It will house the iconic Tutankhamun collection spread over a dedicated exhibition space measuring 7,000 metres. A pair of galleries will display all 5,600 objects retrieved from his tomb.
One of the remarkable things about this museum is that for history buffs, this will be the first time that all items in the collection will be on show together – this includes the boy pharaoh’s three coffins and funeral mask.
Tourists will be able to see some of Tutankhamun’s garments which were previously considered too fragile for display. Alongside. Side, things like the tools he used, the food he ate and the sandals he wore will also be on display.
The museum will showcase a series of chronological galleries that will allow visitors to journey through Pre-History, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom and the Late and Roman Period.
Another highlight will be the 140-foot-long solar boat, found buried beside the Great Pyramid.
The largest artefact on display will be the 12-metre tall statue of Ramses the Great, which will be the first thing that visitors experience on entering.
Another 87 statues of pharaohs and Egyptian gods will be on display on the museum’s grand staircase. This includes two fairly recent discoveries from 2009 – one is a full-scale granite statue of King Amenhotep III and the other is a depiction of falcon-headed God Ra.
A Modern Approach
The Grand Egyptian Museum will strive to fully immerse visitors in the pharaoh’s court. It will do this by presenting the objects along with how he lived his life – for example, showing how he dressed and what he ate as well as providing information about his funeral and what he achieved for his country.