Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hawass visits Grand Museum


I went to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) at Giza on Tuesday to review the progress being made there. It was a very successful trip. I have always dreamed of this museum being Egypt’s answer to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the best and biggest museum in the world. I saw that its staff are working hard to realize this dream and that it is a successful example of international cooperation.

In 2002 we held an international architecture competition with UNESCO and the International Union of Architects to choose the winning design for the GEM. This new museum was planned from the start to be the biggest museum of Egyptology in the world. Architects from 83 different countries entered the competition with 1557 designs. 20 were short-listed by the committee, but Heneghan Peng Architects from Ireland were unanimously chosen as the winner in July 2003. Joining them is an international team of 300 engineers representing Egypt, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria and Canada.

Building work started in May 2005, concentrating first on a new conservation center, conservation energy center, fire station and an artifact tunnel to allow safe transfer of objects from the conservation center and the main body of the museum.

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