The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MTA) has begun preparing the necessary studies to start a project to restore, develop and rehabilitate the Gezira (Island) Museum in Aswan. The ministry plans to reopen the museum after closure for more than ten years.
Brig. Hesham Samir, Assistant Minister of (MTA) for Engineering Affairs and Supervisor of Historic Cairo explained that this project comes within the framework of the importance that the ministry gives to archaeological sites and museums in the various governorates of Upper Egypt, especially Luxor and Aswan.
Samir stressed that this project will not be limited to the restoration of the building only, but will include the development of the museum display scenario, the general site and the garden surrounding the museum, in addition to developing the system of services within the museum and the public site around it.
Dr. Ali Omar said that experts of the Museum Display Scenario Committee have inspected the museum to assess its current condition. The committee is currently working on selecting the pieces that will be displayed in the museum, and a large group of them has been agreed upon initially.
Dr. Omar pointed out that the pieces that will be displayed will include the most important discoveries in Aswan and the history of Elephantine Island to review the history of the Aswan region in ancient Egyptian times.
Dr. Mahmoud Mabrouk, the minister’s advisor for the museum exhibition, explained that the project of the Gezira Museum also includes developing the internal lighting system and the surrounding area, in addition to providing it with comprehensive insurance system.
On his part, Moamen Othman, Head of the Museums Sector under the (MTA), said that it is scheduled to transfer a group of pieces from archaeological and museum stores from Aswan, Kom Ombo and the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to be displayed at the Gezira Museum when it opens, to ensure the enrichment of the museum collection that will be included there.
He added that the development project will include the main building of the museum, which is a historical building as its facade is an archaeological site, in addition to the development of the museum display in the Annex, which is currently open for visits and includes artefacts discovered by the German archaeological mission working on Elephantine Island since 1969 until now.
Othman added that the museum’s visitor services will also be developed such as toilets and providing cafeterias and bazaars to sell the products of Aswan craftsmen, in addition to providing seats, umbrellas and trash baskets, which will improve the visit experience for them.
These facilities were added to exploiting the museum’s garden and the green spaces in the middle of the rocks to become a place of entertainment for visitors and a tourist attraction after its development.
He affirmed that a group of heavy archaeological artefacts will be displayed there.
It is noteworthy that the Gezira Museum in Aswan was established in 1898 AD in the eastern part of Elephantine Island, where it was initially designed to be a resting place for the English engineer Sir William Wilcox, an irrigation expert who designed the Aswan Reservoir. After the completion of this project in 1912, the building was converted into a museum and officially opened in 1917.
This museum is one of the most important and oldest regional museums in Egypt, and between 1991 and 1993 a new part was attached to the museum building (Annex) which was built to include the excavations of the German mission working on the site.
Translated by Ahmed Moamar