The Egyptian Museum
Master plan for the redevelopment, museological design, exhibition design, lighting design and graphic design2009
The undeniable universality of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and its layers of history are the elements which must mandate a museological reflection, destined to lead to a rethinking of the entire exhibitions in order to help the museum express and communicate “their” unique culture.
The general principle of the museological-exhibition design master plan has been not to heavily intervene in the original architecture, but leave the general aura of the museum practically unchanged, which is itself a monument to museology. The walls, arches and the original passages should therefore be preserved, while structures built over the years that have changed the initial design of the museum should be demolished as possible: the rooms on the ground floor are currently used for storage and should return to part of the exhibition and the windows of the main galleries sometimes obstructed by large works should be unobstructed.
Respecting the original architecture also means respecting the interior decorating: false arches and pillars of the galleries and the side rooms, where the original windows were inserted. This implies that the shape, location and size of windows and other display structures, just as had been in the original setting, should be defined based on an arrangement that fully respects the original decorative elements. The original layout was dictated by the weight of the finds. In the first guide of the museum, it says: “The ground floor of the museum contains the entire collection of the heaviest monuments, statues, stelae, stone sarcophagi and architectural fragments” and “the upper rooms are mostly occupied by small objects, or by some large, lightweight objects. “ Even the new arrangement will have to take into account the problem of weight, sometimes to the detriment of the exhibition’s coherence of some collections, such as that of sarcophagi where they will be forced to separate the wooden sarcophagi (to be displayed on the top floor) from those in stone, which must remain on the ground floor.
Generally speaking, the new organization of the exhibition does not deviate so much from the original one: heavy objects will have to remain on the ground floor, while the lighter collections will remain on the top floor. The ground floor will remain in chronological order, although the archeological finds would be reorganized into new paths. The upper floor will be thematic and focus on various aspects of culture and life in ancient Egypt, while retaining some original display areas, like some groups of funeral goods and the part of the collection of sarcophagi currently exhibited in the great west gallery. The new layout should aim to improve the readability of exhibition and at the same time have a greater, more attractive visual impact on visitors. This involves the use of showcases with internal lighting and relinquishing the use partitions that, while increasing the exhibition area, restrict the overall architecture of the museum.