Bank to help fund Children Museum School


School is part of the Grand Egyptian Museum to open in 2015.

Banque Misr and the Ministry of Antiquities are to establish the Children Museum School at the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said that according to a memorandum of understanding signed today, Banque Misr granted LE12 million to build the school, one of the most important parts of the GEM’s third phase. The fund is to be paid in three instalments in three years, from 2014 to 2016.

Nora Ebeid, responsible for the GEM fund raising campaign, said the school aims at training youngsters on handicraft including jewellery, leather and weaving, “in relation to the ancient Egyptian heritage and other civilisations.”

The GEM, which is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2015, will be the largest archaeological museum in the world. It is built on 117 feddans overlooking the Giza Plateau and will put on show artefacts from the prehistoric time to the Graeco-Roman era.

Its design was decided following an architectural competition in 2003 won by architect Heneghan Peng from Dublin.

The building is shaped like a chamfered triangle with a translucent stone wall made of alabaster that comprises the museum’s front façade. Inside the main entrance is a large atrium where large statues will be exhibited. The total estimated project cost is $550 million, $300 million of which will be financed by Japanese loans. The remainder will be financed by the Ministry of Antiquities.

In 2007, GEM secured a $300 million soft loan from the Japanese government. Cairo will provide $147 million while the remaining $150 million will be funded by donations and international organisations.

The first and second phase of the GEM have been completed. They consisted of the construction of a power plant, fire station and a fully equipped conservation centre with 12 laboratories for restoring, scanning and studying mummies as well as a site for objects made from pottery, wood, textiles and glass.  Four storage galleries were also built and filled with 10,000 objects, 6,800 of which are being restored and will be in the GEM’s permanent display.

The conservation centre, which was built 10 metres below ground level, is thought to be the largest such facility in the world and is intended for use not only to restore Egyptian artefacts, but also as a regional conservation centre. It incorporates a documentation centre for creating a computerised database of all artefacts.

In 2012 a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries and the Belgian BESIX group was awarded the contract for the GEM’s third phase valued at $810 million.