Grand Egyptian Museum

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Grand Egyptian Museum

Post by newcastle » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:45 pm

Japan will be providing Egypt with a concessional loan worth USD 451 million to resume construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt’s cabinet announced on Sunday.

The announcement of the loan comes after Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with Japan’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motome Takisawa, to discuss bilateral cooperations and boosting ties between the two nations.

The two also discussed increasing Japanese tourism to Egypt, as well as the possibility of Japan supporting Egyptian Ambassador Moushira Khattab’s bid to become UNESCO’s Director-General.

Last year, then-Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Al-Damaty announced that funding for the museum had run dry, as costs increased from USD 800 million to USD 1.1 billion. The increase in costs came as the EGP weakened against the USD.

The Grand Egyptian Museum was set to open in 2015; however, its opening is now scheduled to take place in 2018. It will be Egypt’s largest and primary museum and, spanning 117 acres, will house over 100,000 artifacts.

While the Museum’s construction has faced numerous delays, a new conservation and restoration center for antiquities has been developed and is already in operation, with experts working on antiquities that will be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum once it is opened.

Former minister Al-Damaty also announced that the museum will be managed independently to ensure that it is free of bureaucratic restraints.

The minister said that this was previously done with Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria’s library, which opened in 2002 and has administrative independence.

http://egyptianstreets.com/2016/08/22/e ... an-museum/



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Re: Grand Egyptian Museum

Post by Hafiz » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:52 pm

Newcastle - your story drips with irony. It was planned to open in 2015 - really - it was years ago.

A month ago the Minister announced it would be open now. I thought some type of opening was scheduled and announced? I'm too lazy to check. What did they say about Sylvia Miles - she would attend the opening of a letter. My impression is that they are filling and opening something not yet finished whilst casting around in the hope of finding money which might finish it at some undetermined time in the future. Desperate.

The Supreme/Pharonic Council has already moved some objects.

Using some simple maths it looks like there is a third to go. Are the Japs granting it or is it just another loan. If the former its an uncharacteristic large grant. Looks suss to me.

The ministers claim that the increase in costs was due (entirely?) to currency movements is contradicted by all data.

All this money, no transport connection, no plan what to do with the old Museum, western aid still being put into renovating the old museum (unbelievably expensive sky lights designed by famous companies and new lighting). new landscaping for a square which will now feature an empty museum. What I really like is that there is no catalogue of the old museum. This may mean that they will never be able to check any 'losses' in the move.

What I want to know is whether the 'hatted one' will be given all the concessions/shops in the new museum (as he wanted/got/removed by a court in the last museum) and will he be put to all the bother, this time round, of tendering for this new one? There is at least one member of this forum who is an unreconstructed acolyte of him and who will be able to give us an update on his movements. So much information used to be available from this impeccable and uncritical source and I assume is still available. An update on the new US Justice Department corruption investigations would be welcome.
Last edited by Hafiz on Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Grand Egyptian Museum

Post by newcastle » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:07 pm

What I also find weird is that they appear to be stripping - as we speak - the Tutankhamun collection which is the jewel in the crown of the Cairo Museum and moving it to its new home at Giza.

At least they've packed up the shabtis.

King Tut collection transferred to GEM. The Golden Pharaoh will be ready for 2017

For the partial opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) by the end of 2017, a number of King Tutankhamon’s artefacts were transfered from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

According to Dr. Tarek Tawfik (General supervisor of the GEM project), the transferring process is going according to a carefully studied plan by a committee of experts in order to move the artefacts which need restoration first so they get restored at the specialised labs at GEM. Also keeping in mind not to disrupt the collection display at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

The committee headed by Dr. Osama Abo Elkhier (General director of restoration labs at GEM) and including Mohamed Atwa (Director of information and antiquities at GEM) and Dr. Hala Hassan (head of Tut’s section at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir

https://www.facebook.com/luxortimesmagazine/

I hope someone has "a plan".....but on past experience you have to wonder :urm:

The moving of Tut et al to Giza has been going ahead for some months, despite the stalling of the building project.....all part of the "...carefully studied plan by a committee of experts..." presumably

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Re: Grand Egyptian Museum

Post by Hafiz » Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:27 pm

I was being lazy – I should have checked the Ministers announcement because as of now they all contain contradictions and less than the full truth. Eventually the Romanov’s promises must have roosted.

It should not be forgotten that the museum was designed by a Dublin company which, at the time it won the design competition, could not afford to pay someone to answer the phones. Dammed from day one.

I thought the funding was suss but I did not know that the Japs were in at the start, not with a grant but a loan:

“In 2007, GEM secured a $300 million loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation” wiki

So with the second Jap loan its all borrowed money.

When construction began in 2009 the target date was 2013.

Lord wiki also says:

On 11 January 2012, a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and the Belgian BESIX Group was awarded the contract for phase three of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), a deal valued at $810 million.

This can only mean that they let a contract 4 years ago when they did not have the money to pay for it. This would explain the stop, start work (mainly stop) over the past few years.

Signing a contract with the family owned Orascom in 2012 must have been a brave/foolish thing because it wasn’t clear at that stage whether the whole family would go to jail for economic crimes and corruption under Mubarak. BESIX is half owned by Orascom whose corporate integrity is made clear by their business in North Korea. Their current business fortunes are mixed (government problems with their aspirations to be venture capitalists) but bolstered by having a family owned political party with 40 or 50 MP's in the lower house.

al Monitor, a good source for what is going on, says the project was launched in 1992, which makes it 24 years old. They also say that in 2012 the Minister justified delay and increase in cost due to 1. The revolution, 2. The security situation. At this stage it was to open in 2015. In late 2014 the Minister announced an opening in 2018 with the reason, on this occasion, ‘shortfall in funding’.

Al Monitor thinks that this is all guff and states:

“An archaeologist at the Grand Egyptian Museum, Saeed Mohammad, told Al-Monitor that the real reasons behind the delay stem from serious negligence indicating that the Ministry of Antiquities and the museum management do not realize the importance of this extensive site.”

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... z4IAwnEoWE

I like their details (why aren’t they in jail):

“Mohammad said, “In June 2009, the Ministry of Antiquities bought an X-ray machine designed to the specifications of the museum’s management to be used for technical purposes to examine the pieces. The machine cost 7 million Egyptian pounds [$893,837]. Although this machine needs a special control room with certain technical specifications to avoid exposing the renovators and archaeologists to [the risk of radiation-induced] cancer, the museum’s administration refused to build the room and left the machine unused.”

He added, “Another device called the scanning electron microscope costs 9 million Egyptian pounds [$1.1 million] and aims to analyze samples of antiquities to technically examine them and determine their type. Years ago it broke and it wasn’t fixed. I was chosen to work at the Grand Egyptian Museum 12 years ago; I worked at the ministry before that. Throughout these 12 years I dreamt of seeing this huge project come to life. But I became frustrated because the minister would give a new date for the inauguration every time and it would be delayed. I lost hope in completing this project.”

Remember the reference in Newcastle’s post that the to-be-restored pieces are moving first to get the benefit of the new GEM tech/restoration facilities – this 2015 story is that restoration was in chaos. In any event its widely published that one of the failures of Egyptian archaeology, and the hatted one, is the long term very poor supply of tech/restoration staff.

Chaos and mismanagement from the day they gave the design contract to the blighted Irish architects.

On a positive note the Minister's announcement that the GEM would reflect the Alexandria Library governance model is a good move although I think that the Library's avoidance of disaster has more to do with its very distinguished leadership and international board which was foisted on Egypt because the money was granted from overseas. Can't see the GEM being handed over to an independent manager and board least of all given its debt funding. The Library publishes audited accounts and balances the books- can't see that happening with the debt laden GEM.

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Re: Grand Egyptian Museum

Post by newcastle » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:21 pm

A saga all too familiar in the Egypt i know and love :a8:

The expression "on a wing and prayer" comes to mind with regard to the whole business.

Ah well....fingers crossed! :ct

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