The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), a.k.a the Giza Museum, is a planned museum of ancient Egypt artifacts, A means to ensure these treasures will be able to survive to various generations to come. Described as the largest archaeological museum in the world able to sustain 5 million visitors a year, the museum is under construction and is scheduled to be partially open in 2020 and 2022, exhibiting the full Tutankhamun collection with various pieces to be displayed for the first time ever. The cost of the museum is at $795 million, which is mostly financed by two loans from the Japanese government in the total amount of 300 million dollars.
The Grand Egyptian Museum Overview
The design of the building was decided by means of an architectural competition just like the great library of Alexandria. The competition was announced on 7 January 2002 by the organizers who received 1557 entries from 82 countries which makes it the second largest architectural competition in history. In the second stage of the competition exactly 20 entries were asked to submit more additional information about their design. Judging was completed by 2 June 2003. The company Heneghan Peng from Dublin, Ireland won the competition winning 250,000 dollars and the chance to witness their design comes to life which you can book our Egypt tours.
The Grand Egyptian Museum Design
The building is shaped exactly like a chamfered triangle in the plan. The design of the museum utilizes the level difference to construct a new ‘edge’ to the plateau, a surface defined by a veil of translucent stone that magically transforms from day to night. The museum exists between the level of the Nile River and the plateau, never extending above the whole plateau. It sits on a site 2 km west of the pyramids, funerary monuments near a motorway interchange. The building’s north and south walls line up perfectly with the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
-The new museum is designed to include the latest advanced technology, such as virtual reality.
-The museum will also be an international center of communication between other museums, to promote direct contact with other local and international museums.
-The Grand Egyptian Museum will contain a children’s museum, conference center, training center, and workshops similar to the old Pharaonic places.
-One of the most important areas in the museum will be the restoration center which on the space of 32 thousand meters, 10 meters underground and connected by 300 m tunnel to the museum for transporting the artifacts after restoration.
-There are about 19 laboratories that will handle all types of preserving and restoring the ancient Egyptian artifacts such as a vase, glass and metal lab which of course handles all artifacts, vessels or statues made from the non-organic substance.
-A wood lab which handles all the restoration of an artifact made out of wood like covens, statues, funerary objects, tools, ships, and sarcophagus.
-A stone lab which of course takes care of all the statues on display from the colossal to the smallest ones.
-Micro-biological lab protects the artifacts by discovering the types of the living creatures which could cause the destruction of the artifacts which the researchers eliminate by creating a chemical matter that will stop the progress of this life form from hurting the artifact.
-A microscope scanner lab which holds all the tools needed for preparing and examining the samples before sending it to the microbiological lab.
-A Human remains lab “Mummies Lab” is responsible for restoring all the mummies of all the kings, queens, workers and even animals like cats & birds.
The Grand Egyptian Museum Area
The Grand Egyptian Museum is on a 50 hectares (120 acres) of land approximately 2 km from the Giza pyramids and is part of a new master plan for the plateau. In front of the building is a large plaza, filled with many date plants. One of the main features of the museum is the translucent stone wall, made of pure alabaster, that makes up the front facade of the building. Inside the main entrance of the museum is a large atrium, where large statues will be exhibited. The Grand Egyptian Museum is foreseen as a cultural complex of activities devoted to Egyptology as it will contain 24,000m² of permanent exhibition space, almost 4 football fields in size, a children’s museum, a larger conference center, and education facilities, plus extensive gardens on the 50h A site.
The actual work began on 2 February 2010 when the Hill International announced that Egypt’s Ministry of Culture had signed a contract with a joint venture of Hill and EHAF Consulting Engineers to provide project management services during the period of design and construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
The Progress of the Grand Egyptian Museum
On 5 January 2002, Egyptian ousted President Hosni Mubarak laid the foundation stone of the Grand Egyptian Museum. On 25 August 2006, the Statue of King Ramesses II was moved from Ramses Square to the Giza Plateau in Cairo, in anticipation of the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum. The Statue of Ramesses II estimated to be about 3,200 years old and was moved to the entrance of the museum in January 2018.
In 2007, GEM secured a $300 million loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The Egyptian Government will fund $147 million while the remaining $150 million will be funded through donations and international organizations.
On 11 January 2012, a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and the Belgian BESIX Group began as it was awarded the contract for phase three of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), a deal valued at $810 million bringing the total cost of the museum to $1.1 billion.
On 29 April 2018 a fire broke out near the entrance of the GEM but artifacts were not damaged and the cause of the fire still remains unknown.
In May 2018, the last of King Tutankhamun’s chariots were moved to GEM from overseas.
In November 2018, the estimate for a full official opening was set in 2020, according to Tarek Tawfik, GEM’s director.
Exhibits of the Grand Egyptian Museum
The museum will cover about one-third of the total museum grounds displaying more than 100,000 artifacts from various periods. The main attraction of the museum will be the first exhibition of the full tomb collection of King Tutankhamun which will showcase about 5000 items in total and will be relocated from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Other artifacts will be relocated from storages and museums in Luxor like the great statue of Amenhotep III and four tons pink Granite statue of the god Horus, Aswan, Minya, Sohag, Assiut, Beni Suef, Fayoum, the Delta, and Alexandria.