The Museo delle Antichit Egizie (Museo Egizio) in Turin is currently undergoing a makeover that is set to change the layout and design of the venue that is home to the biggest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside Egypt. In an interview yesterday, Alain Elkann, president of the Fondazione Museo delle Antichit Egizie, gave Quotidiano Arte a idea of what we can expect to see at the new-look museum.
A Trip up the Nile
One of the innovations is that visitors can expect to be taken through a reconstruction of a Nile environment by an escalator linking the four floors of the museum. An escalator will take visitors from the basement ‘hypogeum’ hall to the top floor, and a surrounding installation (details yet to be confirmed) will create a ‘Nile effect’. Elkann said that this will represent the ‘metaphoric’ and ‘extraordinary’ journey up the Nile.
Other features of the refurbishment include more exhibition space, with simple, well-lit protection that will emphasise the museum’s famous artworks (such as the Sphinx from Karnak and the sculpture of Tutankhamun and Amun), rather than their surroundings. It is hoped that the museum’s space will be doubled when work is completed. The basement will serve as a multi-functional meeting area, while the top floor will house storage space for many objects previously not on display. Elkann said the museum will finally display the extraordinary collection in Turin, which will no longer be a mystery locked away from the public eye, but will be a reality open to everyone.
The museum’s management governed by the foundation, whose shareholders include some bank organisations as well as regional and local authorities was considered unique in Italy at the time it was instigated in 2004. Elkann considers the ‘experiment’ to have been a success. One of the strongest indicators of this success is the visitor numbers which have more than doubled in that time from 250,000 to 600,000 a year. This is no mean feat during a period of general economic downturn, which has seen visitor numbers for many of Turin’s other museums decreasing.
Complete by 2013
The plans for restructuring and expanding the space at the Museo Egizio were approved earlier this month by the museum’s Foundation body. The group Isolarchitetti will be designing and managing the project. The building work will be done in two phases the first to be completed in 2011 and the second in 2013. Initial work at the museum’s courtyard began in July and throughout the restructuring project the museum will be fully open and accessible to the public, as building work is done room by room.
Images by: the archive of Museo Egizio and Studio Isolarchitetti.