The treasures of Tutankhamun, nicknamed “the Golden Pharaoh,” have attracted visitors to the Hurghada Museum; although it has only been six months since its inauguration despite the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on tourism in Egypt.
Visitors flocked to the temporary exhibition considered to be the first of its kind, in which 10 rare artifacts from the Tut Collection that returned to Egypt after its long tour abroad; including Los Angeles, Paris and London, are on display.
“The Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibition was an unprecedented success, especially in France; where cultural exhibition records were smashed, as it drew more than 1.4 million visitors in six months in 2019.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities revealed that the Supreme Council of Antiquities decided to temporarily display 10 of these artifacts in the Hurghada Museum; and 10 others in the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum which will open at the end of this year.
“The museum, officially inaugurated at the end of last February, was able to attract foreign tourists; despite the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector worldwide,” Khaled Mahfouz, a representative of the private sector’s contributors to the Hurghada Museum, said.
He pointed out that “Tutankhamun’s exhibition attracted many of the foreign tourists in the city; especially as it is a good opportunity to familiarize with the life of the famous Pharaoh and see the museum’s other collections.”
Overcoming coronavirus crisis
He added that the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities seeks to overcome coronavirus crisis with a series of measures; including opening domestic tourism with the implementation of tight measures. Then reopening the door to foreign tourists in conjunction with the resumption of air traffic and opening archaeological sites and museums throughout the country.
The “Golden Pharaoh’s” artifacts will remain in the Hurghada Museum until their transfer to the permanent exhibition headquarters in the Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open in 2021.
Moamen Othman, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities; recently confirmed in a press release that “the exhibition of these treasures in the Hurghada Museum is the first of its kind outside the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.”
The gilded wooden statue of deity Ptah; the exhibition’s main artifact, will be on display alongside a statue of Ushabti wearing a golden ferret; a colorful Canopic Jar Lid in the shape of the king’s face; a statue of Ushabti wearing a khepresh and holding a comet and mace; a statue of Ushabti statue wearing a wig, bronze rearing cobra and a golden pendant; a blue-colored faience headrest, Tutankhamun’s chair with ebony and ivory inlays and other artifacts.
Government-Private sector partnership
The Hurghada Museum is the first to be built through a partnership between the government and the private sector. Its revenues will go to the company that covered the construction costs – EGP160mn (~$10mn) – and the state.
The Hurghada Museum highlights the beauty and luxuries of Egyptian civilization through the centuries. It includes artifacts that exemplify the tools used for comfort in their homes; their furniture; and their ornaments; including hair accessories, clothes, and their creams and perfumes.
It also includes the tools Egyptians have used for sports, hunting and playing music. This is in addition to pictures from parties dating back from the Pharaonic era and reaching the modern era. Also on display is a collection of items belonging to Muhammad Ali’s family; taken from other museums, such as the Royal Jewelry Museum in Alexandria and the Abdeen Palace Museum in Cairo.