The International Council of Museums organises a global celebration of museums every year around May 18th, labelled International Museum Day. Each year, the event focuses on a new topic that reflects a current issue or theme confronted by museums worldwide. On this day, museum professionals can network with members of the public, inform them of the difficulties museums encounter, and educate them about the important role museums play in shaping modern societies.
Given the sheer number of museums in the Egyptian capital, we thought it was only befitting to highlight a few museums that help us learn about and admire Egypt’s rich history!
1- Grand Egyptian Museum
via Visit GEM
The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), the world’s largest and most important archaeological museum, was designed in 1992 to provide a more suitable venue for displaying Egypt’s extensive collection of priceless artefacts.
Located on the Giza plateau just outside Cairo, this intriguing $1 billion museum offers breathtaking panoramas of the Pyramids. In the centre of its atrium stands the well-known statue of Ramses II, while the museum’s main staircase is adorned with 87 additional statues of kings.
2- Museum of Islamic Art
via Discover Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art was established in 1881 and now houses a remarkable collection of rare items from across the Islamic world, beginning with the Umayyad dynasty and ending with the Ottoman Empire.
There are about a hundred thousand objects there, spanning all Islamic history. Finely crafted Islamic artefacts like jewellery, weapons, wood and ivory, tapestries, and carpets are displayed alongside priceless copies of the Quran and works of calligraphy from around the world. It also stores Islamic scientific texts from fields as varied as medicine, engineering, astronomy, and more.
The museum can be found in the vicinity of Bab El Khalq.
3- The Egyptian Museum
via Square Space
Located in Tahrir Square, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East. It is also known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.
It is a significant source of national pride for Egypt, and with good reason: the site houses the world’s greatest collection of pharaonic artefacts. More than 170,000 artefacts from the pre-dynastic era through the Greco-Roman period can be found there.
4- The Coptic Museum
via Planet of Hotels
Located inside the Fortress of Babylon in Old Cairo, the Coptic Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich cultural history of Egypt’s Coptic Christians. The museum was established in 1908 by Marcus Simaika Pasha to honour the integration of Christian, Greco-Roman, and Islamic traditions into Egypt’s ancient civilisations.
The fantastic collection of 16,000 artworks includes frescoes from a monastery and 6,000 papyrus texts, such as the Psalms of David and Nag Hammadi.
5- Umm Kulthum Museum
via Cairo Top Tours
Umm Kulthum is revered as one of the most talented singers ever and is honoured as a cultural icon in Egypt. This biographical museum in Giza celebrates her gift to the arts. It displays some of her early recordings, as well as instruments, letters, and other personal items that belonged to her.