SC Exhibitions Egyptian Seite 22

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22 In 1858 Khedive Said appointed the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette as Director of the newly established Antiquities Service acknowledging his care for Egypt s cultural heritage and his systematic supervision of many archaeological excavations across the country The same year Mariette was awarded a modest house in Boulaq located close to the present day Television Building and Ministry of Foreign Affairs This house had originally accommodated the River Navigation Company of Boulaq one of Cairo s ports and had became the nucleus of the first museum of Egyptian antiquities This is where Mariette transferred the antiquities discovered during his excavations In 1863 Khedive Ismail approved the construction of a museum of Egyptian antiquities in the city centre but the project was postponed due to financial constraints and Mariette was thus merely granted more space in front of the house in Boulaq to expand his museum During the same year the Boulaq Museum was officially inaugurated and opened to the public In 1878 an unusually high Nile flood caused much damage in Boulaq and many artefacts were destroyed The Boulaq Museum was closed for renovation and repair until 1881 after which it was reopened Mariette passed away that same year and was succeeded by Gaston Maspero as Director of the Boulaq Museum and Department of Antiquities In 1890 since the overall size of the collection at the Boulaq Museum had increased it was transferred to the Ismail Pasha Palace in Giza which was located at the present day Giza Zoo Upon his appointment as Director of the Museum and Department of Antiquities the scholar Jacques de Morgan reorganised the collection in the new museum which was then known as the Giza Museum After several calamities in the Boulaq and Giza Museums which resulted in huge damages and even the loss of invaluable artefacts the construction of a new Egyptian Museum building became urgent An announcement for a competition for the best architectural design was made In 1895 the prize went to the French architect Marcel Dourgnon The cornerstone of the Egyptian Museum was laid on 1 April 1897 On 15 November 1902 the BACKGROUND AND ARCHITECTURE

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