CAIRO - 26 December 2020: In celebration of the 117th anniversary of the opening of the Museum of Islamic Art at Bab Al-Khalq, the museum, in cooperation with the Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, is organizing two art exhibitions titled “Treasures of Lead”, at the Museum of Islamic Art, and another titled “From Bab Al-Khalq to Heliopolis”, at Baron Empain's Palace, from 28th and December 29th 2020 to January 13th 2021.
Dr. Mamdouh Othman, Director of the Museum, said the exhibition “Treasures of Lead”, which will be held at the Museum of Islamic Art, will be the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East.
He added that it displays sculptures made by artists on pencils depicting a number of the artifacts of the museum.
He explained that these sculptures will be displayed using magnifying lenses with a photograph of the artifact placed beside it.
He pointed out that these pieces have artistic and historical links to The Baron Empain's palace, and its construction.
Dr. Basma Selim, Director of the Baron Empain Palace, said the exhibition “From Bab El Khalq to Heliopolis”, which will be displayed at the palace, includes 35 photographs of artifacts inside the Museum of Islamic Art reflecting artistic, cultural and historical links between the museum and the palace.
In addition to these celebrations, a number of technical and educational workshops and seminars will be held.
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Khaled El Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, made entry to the Museum of Islamic Art free for Egyptians on Monday, December 28,, to celebrate that occasion.
A number of archaeologists will also be at the museum to explain the artifacts to visitors while implementing the precautionary measures and hygiene safety regulations during the visit.
The Museum of Islamic Art in Bab al-Khalq, in the heart of Historic Cairo, is the largest Islamic art museum in the world.
It includes more than 100,000 archeological masterpieces of Islamic arts from India and China, Saudi Arabia, the Levant, Egypt, North Africa and Andalusia.
These masterpieces showcases islamic art throughout the ages, which makes them a beacon for Islamic arts and its civilization.
The idea of establishing a museum of Islamic art and antiquities began in the era of Khedive "Ismail" in the year 1869 AD, and this was built during the reign of Khedive "Tawfiq" in 1881 AD when "Franz Pasha" collected the archaeological artifacts dating back to the Islamic era in the eastern era of Al Hakim Mosque, After that, a small building was built in the courtyard of the Al-Hakim Mosque, called the "Arab Museum", under the administration of Frantzbach, who left the service in 1892 AD.
The current building was inaugurated during the reign of Khedive "Abbas Helmy II" on December 28, 1903.
In 1881, the number of artifacts was 111, and the number continued to increase until it reached nearly 100,000, collected from archaeological establishments, as well as excavations and gifts.
Its was changed in 1951 AD to the "Museum of Islamic Art", and its exhibits were distributed at that time in 23 galleries distributed according to historical era and content.
The museum was renovated between 1983-1984, the area of the museum was expanded and the number of galleries increased to 25, then an area that was occupied by a gas station to the right of the museum was used to establish a museum garden and a cafeteria.
In 2003, the museum went through a major renovation project. Its display was changed, and an administrative building of 3 floors was built that includes administrative offices, a library, a restoration department and a lecture hall.
The museum was opened for visitors after renovation in October 2010 m.
Unfortunately, on the 24th of January 2014, the museum was severely damaged as a result of a bombing targeting the Cairo Security Directorate, located across from the museum.
It was refurbished, restored and then reopened in January 2017.
The museum’s display scenario was changed, the gift shop was moved to the museum garden, and a number of galleries were added one for currency and weapons, and another for daily life, in addition to one for the era of Muhammad Ali.
The display of the main hall at the entrance to the museum was changed to showcase the vision and mission of the museum focusing on the universality of the Islamic civilization, and its contributions to humanity in various fields.