CAIRO: Organization of the opening ceremony for the much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will be handled locally, officials revealed on Thursday.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, bosses at the showpiece new Giza museum have decided not to hire a global company to manage the event.
Instead, Atef Moftah, general supervisor of the museum project, told the Middle East News Agency that planning sessions were being held with a local firm chosen to organize the opening ceremony.
He said the inauguration event was being designed to dazzle the world as befitted such a prestigious project.
The GEM, one of Egypt’s national megaprojects, has been hit by a series of setbacks since building work began in 2006 and had been scheduled to finally open to the public last year.
Moftah pointed out that the timing of the opening had been determined based on the global situation in relation to COVID-19 health and safety issues, adding that the contract to manage and operate the museum’s services was won by a Hassan Allam coalition made up of Egyptian, Emirati, and American companies.
Meanwhile, he said preparations had been completed for the transportation next month of the first Khufu ship from its present exhibition space near the pyramids to its permanent new site in the GEM.
It will be displayed in a special solar boat section of the museum covering 15,000 square meters, equivalent to the area of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.
Moftah noted that the ship’s structure had been saved from collapse and that it would be exhibited in a way that represented its important archaeological value.
An Egyptian-Japanese project to restore and extract wood from a second Khufu ship was currently underway as part of a cooperation scheme involving the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Waseda University in Tokyo, and Higashi Nippon International University.
The project, which has the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is being headed by Japanese Egyptologist Sakuji Yoshimura.