A new international wave of museum building is increasing the number of opportunities for the public to see ancient artefacts. One such new museum under construction is the Grand Museum of Egypt , one of a number of institutions  which could be seen as restitution museums. Finally many countries are managing to disprove the argument that they would not be able to properly look after any artefacts which were returned.
Al Bawaba (Egypt) 
New outlook for Ancient Wonders in Egypt
Posted: 18-07-2006 , 07:19 GMT
Egyptian visitors are already spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural attractions – and they will find even more evidence of the country’s rich civilisation in years to come.
The Culture Ministry aims to build a museum in every city in Egypt to preserve its heritage and raise cultural and archaeological awareness among residents and visitors.
High-profile developments underway include the building of the Grand Egyptian Museum, National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation and Al Arish National Museum, and renovation of the Rashid National Museum, Coptic Museum and Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria.
The $350 million Grand Egyptian Museum, expected to attract five million visitors annually, will be the world’s largest with around 150,000 artefacts when it opens in 2010 – making it larger than the Metropolitan in New York or British Museum in London.
Work on the showpiece museum is due to start next year on a 50-hectare area of land two kilometres from the Pyramids – near enough for Pyramid-bound tourists to make a combined visit, but far enough away to preserve the area’s historical ambience.
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation will display and interpret artefacts that are unique to Egyptian culture and history, from the Pharaohs era to the present day. This major project is being undertaken in co-operation with UNESCO.
The first phase, the building on site of a modern storehouse, has been completed and the second construction phase is now underway.
Ahmed El Khadem, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourist Authority, said: “Egyptian history never stands still for one moment, and we are always looking at new ways to promote our rich heritage. These projects will undoubtedly provide visitors with a fascinating and lasting insight into our culture.”
A new museum which opened in Saqqara near Cairo in December, commemorating the architect of the first pyramid, Imhotep, displays antiquities from around the region.
Another historically striking attraction is the Rashid National Museum, with its Islamic and Ottoman period monuments, which has been renovated after two years at a cost of LE 7 million.
The Coptic Museum has also been upgraded, with a new tube installed uniting both wings, which provides better access to the 26 halls and its 15,000 precious monuments.
Each hall contains masterpieces of stone, antiques, metal, glass and writing. Its splendid mashrabiya (wooden lattice) façade and wooden ceilings have been cleaned, revealing finely coloured foliage scenes.
In the north, the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, currently closed for a two-year renovation, has gradually been expanded to 25 galleries. A must-see for coin enthusiasts, the museum contains collections dating from 630BC to the 19th century.
An open-air museum of underwater objects, raised five years ago from the Mediterranean, has been established within the Roman Theatre area at the Kom Al-Dikka archaeological site in Alexandria.
Al Arish National Museum, which chronicles the history of Sinai from the pre-dynastic era to the Islamic age, displays 1,500 objects carefully selected from eight museums in Egypt and excavation sites in Sinai. The pottery collection is one of the museum’s most important exhibits.
© 2006 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)