According to various local media outlets, Egypt’s government is stepping up preparations for the inauguration ceremony of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) which is set to open by 2020.
Working jointly, Prime Minister Mostafa Mabdouly and the Museum’s supreme committee have been arranging several logistical aspects of the ceremony such as the actual date, its program spanning multiple days, and the consultation of specializing international companies which can organize and arrange the ceremony.
Egyptian authorities hope that the opening ceremony to the ‘largest archeological museum in the world’ will be attended by kings and presidents from several countries.
“The opening of the Grand Museum will be seen by billions across the world, so we began to move now to prepare for the opening ceremony and present a clear road map for the opening,” said Madbouly, as per Egypt Independent.
Echoing the intent to organize a memorable and large celebration for the inauguration, Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anany stated that the celebration will be the largest ever organized by the country.
The presence of Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi as well as kings, presidents, high-profile officials and heads of international organizations will be significant to highlight the country’s latest attempts at modernizing various fields as well as promoting tourism to the country.
As such, the inauguration ceremony requires the additional collaboration between Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, Ministry of Tourism, Interior Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With already erect palm trees and an almost complete façade, the museum is more than 80 percent complete.
Various items have already been moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum: large sized block statues and royal statuary from Cairo’s famous museum in Tahrir.
Moreover, Tutankhamun’s entire collection is expected to make the great move to the GEM, with the boy-king’s golden coffin currently undergoing restoration work ahead of the opening. The collection will also include artifacts from his tomb which had never been exhibited since the tomb’s discovery by Howard Carter in 1922.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open in 2020 and will be the largest archaeological museum in the world, housing as many as 100,000 of Egypt’s treasures. Over 50,000 artifacts have been transferred to the GEM, a neighbor to Cairo’s famous Great Pyramids located on the Giza plateau, so far.
Nonetheless, construction of the museum has not been without criticism with many experts and key figures decrying the opening of a new museum rather than restoring the historic establishment in Tahrir or various other museums in the country. Moreover, many have also called for creativity and a novelty in terms of museum ideas rather than focusing as intently on ancient Egypt.
Potential museum ideas which could be of interest to modern day Egyptians and tourists are: on women, Egypt’s minorities, religion, sports, nature and ocean life.
In the last years, the GEM’s opening has faced several delays ever since construction started in 2006 due to a shortage of funds. Accordingly, Egypt and Japan reached an agreement in 2016 with the Japanese Agency for Development Cooperation (JICA) agreeing to provide USD 460 million to fund the completion of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
However, according to Al Ahram, Antiquities Minister Khaled El Enany has states that the total cost of the museum’s construction is expected to reach $1 billion.
Once opened, the GEM is expected to rival the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) which is also set to open in 2020 and which is soon housing a collection of royal mummies.
Main image credit goes to Khaled Desouki/ Getty Images.