Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Museum of Islamic Art centenary

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

Now that refurbishment is complete, would-be visitors to the museum need wait no longer to roam the spacious galleries showcasing its wooden, metal, ceramic, glass, rock crystal and textile objects from across the Islamic world. Following years of neglect, the Museum of Islamic Art has undergone comprehensive rehabilitation not only of its building and interior design, but also of its exhibition design and displays. Before it closed in 2003 the galleries were dark and dusty and the showcases were overstuffed with 100,000 objects.

"Restoring the Museum of Islamic Art was an ambitious and challenging task that illustrates Egypt's commitment to preserving one of the country's Islamic institutions, in addition to its Pharaonic and Coptic heritage," Hosni told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The renovation project has been a lengthy and dedicated one. "The restoration of the Museum of Islamic Art is an extraordinary achievement, executed by some 15 specialists, 20 SCA restorers and 150 workmen with all the work executed to the highest international standards," Hawass said in an interview with the Weekly. "Now that the museum meets the international standards set out by the International Committee of Museums, it is in a position to compete with its counterparts in Europe and America," he said, adding: "Following its reopening, the museum will once again stand as proudly as it ever did."

Hawass said reopening the MIA sent a political massage to the whole globe showing that Islam was not a religion of terror as some tried to put about, but that it supported the arts and encouraged skills and crafts.

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