The Egyptian Museum, or the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, dates back to 1825, when a decree by Mohamed Ali Pasha was made that called for the establishment of a building to house ancient artefacts that had been discovered in Egypt. In 1858, the first museum was built in the Boulak, but in 1891 it was moved to the Giza Palace of Ismail Pasha due to a severe flood that had caused a lot of damage to the building. Many efforts were made after that to have a custom made building erected, and work on its erection finally commenced during the reign of Khedive Abbass Helmi in 1897. On the 15th November 1902, the wish was fulfilled with the opening of the present day building in Tahrir Square. Since then the museum has increased in size and is now one of the largest museums in the world, as well as being one of the most famous.
The building comprises of 107 halls, spread over 2 floors. The ground floor houses the heavier artefacts, like large stone statues and stone and granite sarcophagi, as well as having rooms set aside for the different periods of ancient Egypt: Old Kingdom; First Intermediate Period; Middle Kingdom; Second Intermediate Period; New Kingdom; Third Intermediate Period; Late Period; and the Greco-Roman Period. The second floor houses smaller artefacts: jewellery; funerary objects; wooden coffins; a vast assortment of ancient worker’s tools; small statues; and personal belongings of the ancient Egyptians. It also houses the treasures of Tutankhamen and has 2 temperature controlled rooms that are dedicated to the Royal Mummies.
The entire museum holds in excess of 160,000 artefacts, with the majority being held in underground storage areas. Because of this it was decided that the present building was not large enough to fulfil its needs and so a new museum was planned. Construction started on the Grand Egyptian Museum on 12th March 2012 and it was initially hoped to have it opened in 2015, though recent events in Egypt have delayed this. Situated about 1.5 miles (2km) from the Giza Pyramids, and covering an area of approximately 870,000 square feet (81,000), it will be the largest archaeological museum in the world.
Photography is not allowed inside the Egyptian Museum and your photographic equipment must be handed over before you are allowed to enter, though it will be returned to you when you leave.