The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo houses the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world. Also known as the Egyptian Museum, the building has more than 100 hallways and two floors containing 100 rooms filled with exhibits. The museum has eight sections featuring authentic art and artifacts from different periods of Egyptian history spanning 5,000 years. Thousands of ancient treasures including jewelry, mummies, gold, funerary masks, sarcophagi, and other artifacts secured from tombs are housed in the Egyptian Museum.
Many treasures had been robbed from tombs and the Egyptian Antiquities Service was formed to put a stop to the pilfering. It was decided that the treasures should be collected and stored in a secure location, so the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities was established. When the collection grew, the museum changed its location to the grand building that houses the ancient treasures today. Over a million foreigners visit the Egyptian Museum every year in addition to half a million Egyptians.
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Large statues, ancient coins and papyri occupy the first floor of the Egyptian Museum. These ancient coins were minted in various metals, including bronze, silver, and gold. Many of these ancient coins are Egyptian, but there are also Roman, Islamic, and Greek coins in the collection. Most of the papyri have been reduced to fragments due to their great age, and they are written in various languages. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs can be seen on some papyri, while others were written in the Latin, Arabic, and Greek alphabets.
Two of the most famous exhibits can be seen on the second floor of the Egyptian Museum: the treasures of King Tutankhamen, commonly known as King Tut, and the Mummy Room, which features a number of royal mummies. The King Tut exhibit has many priceless artifacts on display including the famous Gold Mask, which was the king’s funerary mask. Some of the other treasures in the King Tut exhibit are thrones, statues, jewelry, furniture, and his sarcophagus. The alabaster canopic chest used to house the king’s internal organs, as was the custom when preparing a mummy before entombment, can also be viewed in this exhibit.
Although the Egyptian Museum was created to protect antiquities, the museum is willing to loan collections to other museums. Some of the items in the King Tut exhibit, for example, have traveled around the world. By loaning collections to other museums, the Egyptian museum raises funds to support its exhibits and allows people who may never visit Egypt the opportunity to see treasures from the ancient world.