The Innovative Display Cases Housing the Treasures of the Grand Egyptian Museum© Atelier Brückner
Two decades in the making, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Cairo is one of the most anticipated cultural buildings, set to be an architectural marvel and a leading scientific, historical and archeological study center. The vast, billion-dollar mega-project occupies a site of around 500,000 square meters adjacent to the Pyramids UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Giza Plateau. Within its halls, what will soon be the world's largest archeological museum will showcase 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history, revealed through a collection of more than 100,000 artifacts –many of which will be displayed for the first time.
With its evident magnitude and significance, a project of this scale required grand solutions. At the heart of its design are the state-of-the-art display cases that will house and protect some of the most valuable ancient artifacts, as part of the mission to preserve Egypt's glorious past. These form the very essence of the museum, safeguarding the treasures within and allowing visitors to appreciate the country's rich history and cultural heritage.
Goppion, based in Milan, Italy, has announced its contribution to the GEM as the brand behind the design, manufacture and installation of 122 museum display cases. Housing priceless and extremely fragile textiles, metals, wood, feathers and other organic materials, Goppion's cases meet the most stringent conservation requirements while providing creativity, craftsmanship and technical innovation. Given the scale of this mega-project, the work was divided into two phases.
The Tutankhamun Gallery
The first phase, completed in 2021, required 50 customized conservation-grade display cases for the spectacular Tutankhamun Gallery, which hosts approximately 5,000 artifacts that belonged to the pharaoh. Although Tutankhamun's reign was brief (around 1332 – 1323 BC), his name has achieved fame since the remarkable discovery of his almost wholly intact tomb a century ago, in 1922. The gallery is, in itself, a landmark; it represents the first time the Tutankhamun Collection has been displayed publicly in its entirety.
One of the greatest treasures, found in the inner part of the young king's tomb, is a fan made from ostrich feathers with an ivory handle decorated with gold and lapis lazuli. The feathers were collected by the pharaoh more than 3,000 years ago and are remarkably well preserved, along with the other artifacts from the tomb.
As a result, objects like the fan –as well as other fragile organic materials located throughout the Museum– required the strictest conservation requirements. Similar was the case of Tutankhamun's five gold chariots, one of ancient Egypt's supreme engineering achievements and one of the star attractions of the gallery. Their dimensions called for a huge showcase of 12m x 5m x 3m in height. Display cases of this scale come with many structural challenges, but Goppion's solutions proved to be effective.
More customized display cases
Phase 2, on the other hand, demanded the production of 72 more customized and modular conservation-grade display cases of various dimensions. Besides performing the engineering, prototyping, production and installation for all display cases, Goppion and the GEM team implemented technical solutions to enhance both the legibility and sustainability of the showcases. A centralized, remote-controlled climate control system was developed, with a diffusion of treated air through significant distances and differentiated Relative Humidity (RH) levels in different cases.
One of the challenges in Phase 2 was to create a large showcase for a striking mural from the tomb of the founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, Sneferu. The mural is one of the oldest items in the GEM collection, dating back to the Old Kingdom (around 2700 – 2200 BCE). It spans 13 mud-plaster blocks, all unified by a horizontal colored band that runs across the lower part of each relief. Great skill and care were required to ensure the mounted reliefs all lined up seamlessly for display, as well as to guarantee protection for this meticulously restored and very fragile artifact during and after the installation process.
All in all, Goppion display cases were an ideal choice for the museum due to their functional and aesthetic qualities. Among them, LED adjustable lighting, 0.1 airtightness, security concealed locks, magnetic concealed gaskets, glass joints and passive and active climate control (to manage relative humidity, temperature and nitrogen levels). All of this is combined with a wide range of personalized interiors, which may include adding plinths, panels, shelving, back panels, partitions and other versatile design elements.
More exciting developments will unfold soon at the GEM. After all, ancient Egypt continues to reveal its long-lost secrets: more than 40 archeological missions are currently uncovering the treasures that may also, one day, take their place inside the museum. And, once again, their display cases will play a fundamental role, showcasing them in their maximum splendor.
To learn more about the museum display cases, visit Goppion's website or browse our product catalog.
-- Sent from my Linux system.
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