Egypt Independent

Islamic Art Museum to open to public for free



Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany announced that the Museum of Islamic Art would be open to the public for free for one week starting Friday, January 20, until Sunday, January 28.

He said that the inauguration of the museum after two years of closure represents a significant victory for Egypt on terrorism.

The inauguration of the museum emphasizes the state's role in repairing the ravages of terrorism to preserve Egypt's cultural and human heritage, he added in a statement Thursday.

He expressed confidence that the inauguration of the museum would contribute to restoring tourism inflow to Egypt and add to the accomplishments of the Antiquities Ministry.

Head of head of the museums sector, Elham Salah, said the Museum of Islamic Art is one of the largest specialized museums in Islamic monuments in the world, with its unique archaeological collections that tell Egypt's Islamic heritage over the ages, in the fields of medicine, engineering, astronomy and art.

Officials attempted to remedy all the problems that existed before 2010, such as display shortcomings. The house of gifts was moved to the museum garden, new halls were built including: a hall for the display of currencies; another hall for weapons; and a third for everyday life, said Salah.

New display windows were allocated to show items dating back to the Muhammad Ali dynasty, and the names of some halls were changed to fit with the new museum display system, she added.

Open display windows were covered from above to avoid damage caused to artifacts as a result of dust and different weather factors.

New material was used in the manufacture of display windows to reduce the sun's harmful rays.

The museum's store, which has not been developed since the museum's opening in 1903, was expanded, Salah mentioned.

Director General of the Museum of Islamic Art Ahmed al-Shawky said the museum included 1,475 artifacts at the time of the attack which occurred 3 years ago. 

Only 160 pieces were restored, he added.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the Museum of Islamic Art on Wednesday morning after the restoration work was completed, according to a statement from the presidency.

In 2014, the building suffered damage in the suicide car bomb attack perpetrated on the Cairo Security Directorate, across from the museum.

The museum includes hundreds of rare manuscripts and more than 100,000 artifacts representing different Islamic eras.

According to the museum's official page, one of the most important challenges for the venue was the old display system for artifacts in place before the bombing, as only 1,500 artifacts could be displayed back then.

A new display system was developed by the museum's officials so that 4,400 pieces can now be exhibited.

Sixteen additional display windows were created, and three new halls were built. Three old halls were renovated, the most important of which was the entrance hall.

Pexiglass was used in the manufacture of display windows as it does not react chemically with artifacts, the page added.