Overlooking the Ain El-Sira Lake in Al-Fustat area in Old Cairo, the plot devoted to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) is a hive of activity. Workers are in full swing to complete the constructional phase of the NMEC.
The NMEC is Egypt’s first and only museum to be devoted to its diverse civilisation in its entirety. It will present the full range of the richness of Egypt’s history, from the prehistoric era through to modern times. Moreover, it will be the first such collection, in its focus, in the Arab world. Its exceptional resources are drawn from numerous archaeological sites, museum exhibitions and storehouses.
Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs Zahi Hawass on Saturday embarked on an inspection tour to check the recent construction work. It this was the first inspection by Hawass following his appointment as minister. Earlier, the NMEC was under the authority of the Ministry of Culture before the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) became the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs (MSAA).
During the tour Hawass called on the engineer in charge of construction to complete work on the theatre located in the museum’s garden, in order that it could be used in cultural events organised by MSAA or other ministries, as well as other cultural and scientific organisations. He also charged the NMEC archaeological team with establishing a papyri centre inside the museum, which will be in charge of studying, documenting, publishing, restoring and displaying the archaeological papyri in all Egypt’s museums.
Hawass also met with NMEC employees and promised to provide several training programmes for them, whether in Egypt or abroad.
Hussein Abdel Bassir, director of the NMEC, said that the museum will exhibit 150,000 artefacts selected from museums around Egypt, including Cairo’s Egyptian, Islamic and Coptic museums, the Greco-Roman and Alexandria national museums in Alexandria, and the Luxor Museum. Archaeological artifacts kept in storage in at the Giza Plateau and Saqqara will also be put on display.
The museum will showcase the feats and achievements of Egypt’s history. In addition to the chosen collection, the NMEC will house a set of monuments, among them the Seboua Temple of Ramses II, now on Lake Nasser, a complete façade of a Fatimid sabil, two columns from King Djoser’s Temple at Saqqara, the collection of royal mummies, and the mummy of the ancient Egyptian artist Sanejem, which is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.
On display will also be the recent exhibition organised on Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, which will tour 14 European countries and find a permanent home at the NMEC.
Ramadan Badri Hussein, supervisor of archaeological affairs in the MSAA, told Ahram Online that Hawass also visited the club of MSAA employees located next to the NMEC, to check upon its final stages of construction. Within few months, said Hussein, the club will host MSAA members.