Most King Tutankhamun displays ready at Grand Egyptian Museum
The museum will display all of the pharaoh’s treasures for the first time when it opens by the end of 2021
King Tutankhamun’s treasures have been placed in 65 per cent of their display cases in the Grand Egyptian Museum, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.
When the huge museum near the Giza Pyramids opens this year, it will house the boy king’s entire collection of more than 5,300 artefacts for the first time since his tomb was discovered in Luxor nearly 100 years ago.
Only 200 of pharaoh’s artefacts have not yet been transferred , said Al Tayeb Abbas, assistant minister of tourism and antiquities at the Grand Egyptian Museum.
The treasures, expected to be the museum’s star attraction, will be in a hall covering 7,500 square metres.
The 107 display cases from Germany and Italy have been installed in their permanent places in the two Tutankhamun galleries, the ministry said.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El Enany, visited the museum on Monday.
Installation of artefacts in the atrium and the grand staircase has also been completed and fine restoration of the pieces is taking place.
Mr El Enany thanked the museum staff for their efforts to finish the project this year, and said the King Tutankhamun hall will rival displays at the world’s largest and best museums.
When the Grand Egyptian Museum is completed at a cost of about $1 billion, it will have room to display 100,000 artefacts.
The 60,000-square-metre building has been built on a plot of nearly 500,000 square metres, about two kilometres from the Giza Pyramids plateau.
It has been in the works since a worldwide architectural competition was announced in 2002.
But completion has had several delays because of political and economic instability after the 2011 revolution, and travel and tourism challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry has been reluctant to announce a definite opening date, as it hopes to inaugurate the museum with a grand celebration and invite dignitaries from all over the world.
King Tutankhamun and his mask have become the symbols of ancient Egypt. Maybe a lot of people don’t know anything about Egypt, but they will know King Tutankhamun,
Sahar Saleem, paleoradiologist
So far, 55,000 artefacts have been transferred and are being restored in the conservation centre.
They cover thousands of years from prehistoric times to Egypt’s pharaonic civilisation, to its ancient Greek and Roman periods.
The first artefact to be installed in the museum in January 2018 was the 83-tonne, 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses the Great.
The atrium was built around the statue, which stands more than 20 metres high.
The third and fourth shrines of Tutankhamun are among the treasures that have been installed.
Many of the treasures are still at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, including the famous golden death mask that was entombed in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings and has since toured the world.
British archaeologist Howard Carter became world famous when he discovered the intact tomb of the 18th dynasty pharaoh in 1922.
“Mummy mania started with the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun because it was the only tomb of a royal king that was found sealed with all of its objects,” said Sahar Saleem, the radiologist who conducted the CT scan of King Tutankhamun’s mummy in 2005.
Tutankhamun died at 18 or 19, with the cause of death still debated by Egyptologists. His reign lasted only nine years.
About 150 of Tutankhamun’s treasures went on their last world tour in 2018 before returning to Egypt.
“King Tutankhamun and his mask have become the symbols of ancient Egypt," Ms Saleem said.
"Maybe a lot of people don’t know anything about Egypt but they will know King Tutankhamun."
After the Pharaohs Golden Parade in April, which transferred 22 royal mummies to the Egyptian Museum of National Civilisation, Mr El Enany said another procession would be held to move Tutankhamun’s golden mask and sarcophagus to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
But those plans have not been confirmed.
As for Tutankhamun's mummy, Egypt's former antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told CNN in August 2020: “The people of Luxor think that their grandfather should stay there.
"And I really do respect this. The mummy will stay there.”
Updated: June 9, 2021 03:29 AM