Hurghada Museum is the first antiquities museum in al‑Bahr al‑Ahmar (Red Sea) Governorate, the first museum of its kind. It is the fruitful result of a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, al‑Bahr al‑Ahmar (Red Sea) Governorate, and the private sector. On the one hand, The private sector funded the museum’s construction. On the other hand, The Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities manages the museum. Securing it is the Tourism & Antiquities Police’s responsibility, in cooperation with the National security. At the same time, the museum income gets into the country’s state treasury.
Location of Hurghada Museum
Preopening of Museum in Hurghada
HE Dr Khaled al Anani, Minister of Antiquities, travelled to Hurghada to examine the latest developments in the Museum of Hurghada. HE was accompanied by Brigadier Hesham Samir, Assistant Minister of Antiquities for Engineering Affairs and General Supervisor of Historic Cairo.
During the tour, the Minister of Antiquities pointed out some modifications that need to be made to the display cases not to hinder the movement of the visitors while promoting the beauty and elegance of the objects within. The Minister of Antiquities called for an increase in displayed objects and created a daily program of cultural activities in the museum’s recreational area.
The Hurghada Museum is equipped with the latest cameras and alarms. Thus, it stresses the full coordination with the Ministry of Interior to secure the museum using modern, high-efficiency equipment and personnel. HE Dr Khaled al-Anani also investigated the museum’s lighting and insurance systems, implemented following the ministry’s security requirements. In addition to this, there will be a team from the ministry of antiquities and training programs to teach employees how to interact with the museum’s visitors.
The museum provides a Parking lot once, a reception with multilingual assistance, a food court, a Roman theatre and a kids’ area within the outdoor landscape.
The Minister of Antiquities instructed the museum’s officials to meet with tourism companies in Hurghada before the opening to coordinate a framework of presentation that corresponds with the displays. The museum will also contribute to the promotion of Egyptian monuments.
Muhammad Osman, head of the museum sector, explained that the museum’s design goes according to the international standards of world museums. The museums’ screening scenario demonstrates the beauty and luxury of the Egyptian civilization throughout the ages. The displays showcase pieces that embody the comforts of homes, their furniture—also the products used by the ancient Egyptians for hair, clothes, perfumes, and accessories.
Exhibitions in Hurghada Museum
The Museum of Hurghada contains 2000 artefacts that tell the story of Egypt, from the Ancient Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Jewish, to the Christian, Islamic, and Modern eras. These objects underline the museum’s theme, which is to present the concept of beauty in Egypt.
It also displays family unity and the structure of Egyptian civilization, conveyed through sculpture work. Amarna Pottery and Musical exhibits come next on this historical ride, addressing different senses of beauty.
The museum’s masterpiece Merit Amun bust highlights this journey, followed by the household, furniture, vessels and pottery.
In addition, hunting & fishing exhibits and Jewelry sets of multiple Egyptian eras show. Next to it, Greco-Roman sports sets and stories are on display.
The neighbouring collection presents funerary art, displaying the soul’s journey. It highlights the mummy’s beautification types & standards based on age groups and societal positions.
The museum thus displays the art in Greco-Roman, Coptic, Jewish & Islamic eras. Further, visitors reach the underwater artefacts found in Saadan Island. Finally, the Khedive jewellery collection ends the museum’s journey.
Khaled Mahfouz explained the exclusivity in hosting Mohamad Ali’s family jewellery “Hurghada National Museum features a collection of Mohamad Ali’s family jewellery. This collection was not on display before the foundation of Hurghada Museum, as it was in the safes of the Central Bank of Egypt. It ends this journey with Egypt’s modern history artefacts.”
Servant statue of a man grinding grain
The bread was a staple food in ancient Egypt, as it continues to be today. The dead, just like the living, needed a steady supply of food to survive. So it is not surprising that many of the servant statuettes discovered in tombs are involved in the various stages of making bread, just like this one. Some show up kneading dough, and others baking bread, but before these steps, first, they gound the grain. The presence of this first step in the bread-making process could thus stand-in for the whole. It guaranteed that the deceased would have all the bread he needed for eternity. This particular figurine depicts a man performing this crucial activity.
- Old Kingdom (ca. 2686 – 2125 BC)
- Painted Limestone
Statue of Meritamun
A masterpiece of Egyptian art, this statue has been identified as Meritamun, the daughter of Ramses II and his Great Wife. Although her name is missing here, the titles and epithets are the same as those on a statue of this princess (who became her father’s Great Wife after her mother’s death) found at Akhmim.
Meritamun wears here some accessories which display the royal fashion and style of Dynasty 19. Her crown (a “modius”) is formed by a wall of cobras with sun disks on their heads; she most likely originally had a tall headdress of two ostrich plumes with a sun disk atop her head. Around her forehead is a fillet, fronted by two cobras, one wearing the crown of Upper Egypt and the other with the crown of Lower Egypt. Her elaborate tripartite wig still retains some blue pigment, with each small lock carved separately.
Meritamun’s breasts are decorated with rosettes, and on her surviving left arm are two bracelets. Her wig leaves her ears exposed, revealing round earrings of gold. She also wears an intricate broad collar composed of five rows of beads in the shape of the hieroglyph Nefer, meaning beautiful. She holds an object called a menat necklace in her hand, used to make a rattling noise during sacred rituals. It consists of rows of beads with a counterpoise, here in the shape of the goddess Hathor as a woman, associating the princess with the goddess. Meritamun’s surviving titles include: “Player of the sistrum of Mut and the Menat of Hathor.”
- Dynasty 19, reign of Ramesses II
- Painted limestone
Offering Table of Thutmose III
For the ancient Egyptians, the gods and the dead had the exact needs of the living and had to be provided constantly with food and libations. An early manifestation of this belief is the offering table, a stone slab where the deceased or the divine could consume various food items and drinks.
Offering tables often resembled the Hetep sign, the hieroglyph for offering, as this one does. The table consists of a rectangular slab representing a mat, with a section describing a loaf of bread protruding from the middle of one side. One way to continuously guarantee the continuous receipt of offerings was to carve representations of food and drink and the “offering formula” onto the table itself. Thus it makes this activity eternally functional.
This example comes from Karnak Temple and belongs to one of the most powerful kings of Dynasty 18, the great warrior king Thutmose III. The king’s titulary is inscribed on the protruding part of the table, and the sides are adorned with Isis knots and djed pillars, representing protection and stability. On the front faces of the table are images of the king kneeling to present vessels filled with liquid. And on the top surface, in place of carved food and drink items, are forty holes to hold offerings.
- Luxor, Karnak Temple, Precinct of Amun, Central Court
- New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Thutmose III (ca. 1479 – 1425 BC)
Canopic Jars of Isetemkheb
During the mummification process, specific organs of the deceased, namely the liver, lungs, intestines and stomach, would be mummified, wrapped separately and then placed in four “canopic” jars.
These jars date back to the Old Kingdom onwards and display specific changes over time. Beginning in the New Kingdom, these jars were topped by the heads of the “Four Sons of Horus,” who functioned as guardians for the internal organs. As seen in this example, these deities took the form of a baboon, a jackal, a falcon and a man.
This beautiful set, which has retained much of its colour, was painted with the name of their owner, Isetemkheb, who held the vital title Chief of the Musical Troupe of Amun-Re. She was the wife of the High Priest of Amun Pinudjem II and the mother of King Psusennes II.
- Deir el-Bahari, TT 320 (First Royal Cachette)
- Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21 (ca. 1069 – 945 BC)