Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tutankhamun buys Egypt a new museum

Guardian, UK (Will Hobson)

More than a million people have now seen the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 Centre, a popular success that, although it has made fewer headlines, matches Tut's first extravaganza in the 1970s, which packed out the British Museum for six months (tickets 50p) and criss-crossed America for three years. Its triumphant progress then (twice the number of people saw it at Seattle Art Museum as were living in Seattle at the time, for instance) earned the Egyptian Government a tidy sum by the standards of the day - $7million on the American leg alone - which was officially earmarked for a revamp of the display facilities at the treasures' permanent home, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Thirty years on, it's hard to think any of the money actually reached its destination. In fact it's hard to think of change of any sort disturbing the dusty, eternal dreams of the Egyptian Museum for large stretches of the last century. This incredible building offers many delights, not least the world's most magnificent collection of pharaonic art, but display facilities are not obviously one of them. Captions, wall panels, organisation by themes – all but none of the trappings of the modern museum corral the contents of its vast halls and atrium modelled on the interior of an Ancient Egyptian temple. Instead, its vast mother lode of splendours mutely await discovery, like Ancient Egypt itself, one of the best documented and, at the same time, most enigmatic civilisations in history.

Artist's impression of the proposed Grand Egyptian Museum next to the Pyramids. All this may soon be about to change. A new museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, is due at any moment to be built on a 100-acre site next to the Pyramids.


1 comment:

Ambrosia said...

I have plans to go back to Egypt soon. Do you have any more information about the new museum? Thanks :)