CNN goes behind the scenes of the Grand Egyptian Museum; a new home for Tutankhamun’s treasures
30-minute Inside the Middle East special programme explores the conservation of treasures, the exhibits of the Grand Egyptian Museum and what it means for Egypt
Billed as Egypt’s gift to the world, the Grand Egyptian Museum is the biggest archaeological museum ever created and will house the greatest collection of artefacts from ancient Egypt. Ahead of its opening, Nick Glass reports for CNN’s Inside the Middle East and goes behind the scenes at the museum, exploring the exhibits, conservation work and the museum’s significance as a major new cultural destination.
From architectural competition to planned opening next year, The Grand Egyptian Museum has taken nearly 20 years. At almost half a million square metres, visitors may need to set aside two days to get around it. CNN first caught up with the project in 2018, six years after construction began, and spoke to Dr Tarek Tawfik, Director-General, Grand Egyptian Museum Project, 2015-19 about the building: “It’s a new landmark that is being added to the complete view of the city of greater Cairo… for the first time the pyramids and the fantastic treasures of Tutankhamun will be eye to eye.”
The Conservation Centre for the Grand Egyptian Museum is the largest of its kind in the Middle East and experts are working to conserve over 5,000 artefacts from Tutankhamun alone. Inside the Middle East learns that Tutankhamun’s treasures will be the star attraction of the museum in an expansive 7,000 square metre exhibit featuring the most famous and recognisable artefacts alongside ceremonial chariots, daggers made from meteorite, golden thrones and textiles.
Dr Tayeb Abbas, Head of Archaeology, Grand Egyptian Museum explains the intrigue around Tutankhamun: “When you go really deeply into the collections… into the history of the king, you discover that he was a really important king… his life and death are still a mystery. And that’s why people all over the world are still fascinated by King Tutankhamun.”
The Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to attract two to three million visitors in the first year and up to seven or eight million in the longer term. That would make the new Museum among the top three most visited in the world.
“Today more than 96.5 % of the museum is finished,” Major General Atef Moftah, General Supervisor, Grand Egyptian Museum tells CNN, “The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. Then at the beginning of next year, we will work on the antiquities side of the project for four to six months. Hopefully by then, Covid-19 will be over and have left the world in peace.”
Inside the Middle East airs on CNN International at the following times:
Saturday 8th August 06:00 BST
Sunday 9th August 11:00 and 17:00 BST
Monday 10th August 04:00 BST
Saturday 15th August 06:30 and 20:00 BST
Sunday 16th August 03:00 and 18:00 BST