The Museums

#1 Egyptian Railway Museum

متحف سكك حديد مصر

The museum was originally built to celebrate the International Railway Conference which was held in January 1933 in Cairo. The building, an extension of the Main Railway Station in Cairo, was completed on the 26th of October 1932. The museum was inaugurated on the 15th of January 1933. This allowed the conference members to experience the first railway museum in the Middle East.

 

The museum’s collection shows the development of railways and transport modes from the ancient time to the present. It starts with a model showing the engineering system employed by the Ancient Egyptians to transport a 60 tons statue, on wooden sleds and pulled over the sand by four teams of 44 workers. The display also shows the simple transportation methods which depend on manpower and animals force.

 

In the railway section, the museum has a good collection of models, which explains the development from the very beginning with the first engine made in by William Murdoch in 1781, which was the first locomotive to ever run in England. Then the first locomotive running in Egypt in 1854. In addition, a mock-up is placed, cut in half showing all the internal hidden components of a locomotive.

 

The collection also contains a large group of models of old locomotives used by the khedives and kings of Egypt, to modern locomotives, which shows the progress from the steam locomotives to the latest electrical diesel ones.

 

The museum also shows a variety of old and new signaling devices which explains how the locomotives were manually operates in the past and how they are now automatically run. There is also a section displaying models of train stations from Alexandria, Tanta and other Egyptian cities, along with models of fixed and swing bridges and photographs.

 

The museum’s library is open to the researchers and the interested public. The library contains many important historic volumes on the subject, along with statistical books on transportation and the railways in Egypt and abroad.

Address: Ramsis square,

Misr Railway Station

Opening Hours:  9:00 am to 2:00 pm Closed on Friday

Date of Inauguration: 15th of January 1933

Architectural Style: Neo-classical facade articulated in a Mamluk style

Affiliation: Ministry of Transportation

#2 Abd al-Wahab Museum   

متحف عبد الوهاب

The museum of Egypt’s iconic 20th century singer and composer, Muhammad Abd al-Wahab (1902-1991), was inaugurated on the 4th of June 2002. The museum is located on the second floor of the Arabic Music Institute. It is designed in a way which gives visitors a feeling of entering Abd al-Wahab’s house. It contains his bedroom and office and many personnel objects. In his bedroom, a clock is set on the date and time of his passing, and the wheel chair where he was sitting.

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The museum holds his oud and piano, and other musical instruments he used in his films. It also displays the golden microphone which he used for recording.  The famous white suit he was wearing when filming his first film al-warda al-bayda in 1932, is also on display. The visitors can watch his movies and listen to his songs. There is also an archive on his musical material. A section is dedicated to his childhood and his first steps into the world of music and cinema.

Address: 22 Ramsis street

within the Arabic Music Institute

Opening Hours:  9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed on Saturday

Tel: +20 2 25743373

Date of construction : 1923

Architect: Italian Architect Mario Rossi

Architectural Style: Neo-Islamic

Date of Inauguration: June 2002

Affiliation: Arabic Music Institute Cairo Opera House

#3  Egyptian Post Museum

متحف البريد المصرى

The Post Museum was inaugurated in February 1934, during the 10th Postal Union Congress in Cairo, the main international meeting of the Universal Postal Union. The museum opened officially to the public on the 2nd of January 1940.

The museum contains a collection of objects, pictures, and historic documents illustrating the ways in which messages were delivered in Egypt over the centuries. It also presents various historic documents, tracing the development of letters throughout the time, from papyrus, to paper and envelopes. The collection also presents the history of the Egyptian post since its creation in 1886. The museum is divided into 10 sections: 1-historical, 2-postal equipment, 3-stamps, 4-postal buildings, 5-transport, 6-costumes, 7-maps and statistics, 8-air mail, 9-conferences and 10-for foreign mail..

Address: Ataba square, Central Post Office

Opening Hours:  8:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed on Friday and Saturday

Tel: +20 2 2391 0011E

Date of construction : 1901

Architectural Style: Neo-Baroque

Date of Inauguration: February 1934

Affiliation: Ministry of Communication and Information Tecchnology

#4 Banque Misr Museum  

متحف بنك مصر

The museum was inaugurated in 2011, in the headquarters of the Banque Misr in Downtown, the first Egyptian bank, founded by the industrialist in 1920. The idea for the creation of the museum emerged in 2004, as there was a need to document the long history of the Banque Misr, which was founded as the first Egyptian bank in 1920. It was also essential to to record the life of its founder, The Egyptian industrialist Talaat Harb (1867-1941). The bank was established in a very important and crucial period in Egypt’s modern history, as it has played a major role in the economical and industrial platforms. It was nationalized in 1960.

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Banque Misr Museum holds in its collection numerous publications and photographs made for the bank and its first companies. There is also a rare copy of the book Égypte by the Swiss photographer Fred Boisonnas (1858-1946), commissioned by king Fuad I in 1929. Harb’s actual office is kept with his desk and a conference table. His personnel possessions and medals were given to the museum by his family. Among the valuable object a fabric from the cover of al-Kaaba, gifted to Harb by King Abd al-Aziz in 1937.

Address: 151 Muhammad Farid Street, Downtown

Opening Hours:  10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Closed on Friday and Saturday

Tel: +201001628196

Date of construction : 1927

Architect: Antonio Lasciac

Architectural Style: Eclectic with local decorative elements

Date of Inauguration: 25th of May 2011

Affiliation: Banque Misr

FB https://www.facebook.com/BMIsrMuseum/

#5 Ethnographic Museum  

المتحف الإثنوغرافى

 

The museum was inaugurated in 1895. It is located within the Egyptian Geographical Society, which was founded by Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879) on the 19th of May 1875. The collection of the museum holds very valuable objects showing the life and customs of the populations of the Nile Valley. The first objects were collected by the scientific expeditions sent by the Society to discover the Nile sources. The Egyptian Army also gifted the museum with valuable photographs and objects from the 19th century, showing the everyday life in the Sudan. Other gifts were donated by Egyptian and Foreign geographers. These objects were the nucleus of the museum’s collection when it was inaugurated.

In 1924, the Society commissioned Ernest S. Thomas to create the catalogue of the museum, and to study the collection and organize its display. Starting 1928, the Society was acquiring new objects from Cairo and the rural areas to show the traditions and cultures of the Egyptians. The collection became then a fine example displaying the way of life on the Nile Valley.

The museum is divided into six sections. The first section is focused on Cairo with original objects from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. The second section is on traditional crafts, which have are today extinct and replaced with machinery. The third section is a hall from an upper-class house in Cairo, with furniture and objects used in different occasions. The fourth section is on the Egyptian countryside, with objects used in the daily life at home or on the fields. The fifth section is dedicated to Africa and the Nile Valley, with a valuable collection of weapons and music instruments along a big collection of photographs. The final section is for the Suez Canal.

Address: 109 Qasr al-Ayni street

Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00  pm

Tel:  +20 2 27945450

Date of construction : 1875

Architect: Mario Rossi

Architectural Style: Neo-Pharaonic

Date of Inauguration: 1898

Affiliation: Egyptian Geographical Society

#6 Bayt al-Umma Museum  (Saad Zaghloul)  

 متحف بيت الأمة

 (سعد زغلول)

 

Bayt al-Umma Museum, was the private residency of Saad Zaghloul Pasha (1859-1927), Egypt’s national leader who fought for its independence. He was the leader of the Wafd party and of the nationalist movement of 1918–19, which led Britain to give Egypt independence in 1922. Zaghloul led an official delegation to the Paris Peace conference after the end of World War I, demanding Britain to acknowledge the independence of Egypt and its unity with Sudan. But instead, Britain exiled him to Malta then to the Seychelles. His exile sparked the 1919 revolution in Egypt and the masses marched to his house, which became known ever since as Bayt al-Umma, or the house of the nation. When he returned to Egypt, he used to give speeches from his terrace, and hold various meetings in his house, even to his cabinet when he was briefly prime minister in 1924. His wife, Safiyya Zaghloul (1878-1946) played an important role as well in the political movement.

After her passing in 1946, the house was transformed into a museum to celebrate both their lives and legacies. The house still holds evidence of their life together, and it displays objects from their daily life, such as Saad’s notes and pens put on his desk in the office room, and Safiyya dresses hanged on her dressing room. The salon, where he used to receive his guest and holds his meetings still have the same furniture, with a special chair for his wife. In the Arabic room, Saad’s awards are put for the public to explore next to Safiyya’s jewellery. This museum gives an insight on the personal and public lives of the Zaghlouls, but it is also a voyage in time, where one can discover life at the turn of the 20th century. Zaghloul’s mausoleum was erected infront of his house.

Address: 7 Saad Zaghloul street, from al-Falaky street, Sayida Zaynab

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed on Friday and Saturday

Tel:   +20 2 27945399

Date of construction : 1901

Architect: Mustafa Pasha Fahmy

Architectural Style: Neo-Classic

Date of Inauguration: 1946

Affiliation: Ministry of Culture

#7 Fine Arts Museum

متحف الفنون الجميلة

 

The Fine Arts Museum is housed in one of the villa, located in the complex of the Fine Arts Faculty (Helwan University) in Zamalek.  The villa was originally built by Ahmad Abud Pasha (1891 – 1946) to his daughter Muna. In 1935, the school of Fine Arts relocated to the adjacent buildings. Later, and after the revolution of 1952, the Abud villa was annexed to the campus of the Fine Arts, after the State nationalized the pasha’s business and confiscated his properties in Egypt.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Salah Abdel Karim, the dean of the Fine Arts, started collecting different art works from the professors of the faculty in Sculpture, Paintings and Drawings, and Graphics departments. In 2006, the faculty decided to refurbish the villa and prepare it to house a proper museum with more than 300 art works, of the pioneers of the Modern Arts movements to the present time, such as Yusuf Kamil (1891-1971), Hussein Bicar (1913-2002), Hamid Nada (1924 – 1990) and Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar (1925 – 1966).

The museum was inaugurated in May 2016, to document the long artistic history of the faculty, and the many transformations it has witnessed on all social, cultural and political levels. It is a space to preserve and keep the outstanding artistic production of its students and professors.

Address: 5 Muhammad Thaqeb street, Zamalek

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed on Friday

Tel:  +20 2 27357570

Date of construction : 1891

Architect:

Architectural Style: Neo-Classic

Date of Inauguration: 2016

Affiliation: Helwan University, Faculty of Fine Arts

#8 Agricultural Museum

المتحف الزراعى

 

The Agricultural Museum is composed of a group of seven museums housed in the former palace complex of Princess Fatma Ismail (1853-1926) in Giza. The seven museums are : 1- The Ancient Egyptian Agriculture Museum, 2-The Greco-Roman Coptic and Islamic Agriculture Museum, 3-The Botanical Museum, 4-The Scientific Collection Museum. Later, three other museums were added: 5- The Arabic Hall Museum (1961), 6- The Cotton Museum (1996),and 7-The Collections Museum (2002).

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Princess Fatma Ismail is the granddaughter of Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1805-1848) and the daughter of Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879). She is mostly known for her generous financial contribution for the establishment of the first secular university in Egypt, Fuad I today known as Cairo University. A special decree was issued in 1927, during the reign of King Fuad I, the princess’s brother, for the establishment of an Agricultural museum to document and preserve Egypt’s agricultural heritage from the Ancient Egyptian periods to the modern time. The Princess donated her palace in Dokki to be refurbished and adapted to display the collections. The museum was the first of its kind in Africa, and the second worldwide after the Hungarian Agricultural Museum (1908).

Address: Agricultural Museum Street, Dokki, Giza

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 to 1:30

Tel:  +20 2 33372933

Date of construction :

Architect: One of the buildings is designed by the architect Nehad Kholosi

Architectural Style: Art Deco, Modern, Eclectic

Date of Inauguration: 16 January 1938

Affiliation: Ministry of Agriculture

#9 Umm Kulthum Museum

متحف أم كلثوم

Umm Kulthum (1898 – 1975) is one of the greatest and most influential iconic Arab singer, who’s records are still widely played today. She was also a songwriter and a film actress and was nicknamed Kawkab al-Sharq (Start of the East) and Sayidat al-Ghina’ al-Arabi (the lady of Arab singing). In 1998, the idea of creating a museum dedicated to Egypt’s diva became effective, as a tribute to her role in enriching the musical scene in the Arab world, and to connect the younger generations with her musical legacy.

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The museum was inaugurated in 2001. It is housed in one of the annexed buildings of the Monasterli Palace, located on the southern tip of the Ruda Island, next to the Nilometer. The palace was built in 1851 by Hasan Fuad Pasha al-Monasterli (d. 1859). The objects on display were collected from Umm Kulthum’s family members and fans. The collection is not only reflecting her personality and taste, but it is also a witness on the arts and culture of a very important period in Egypt’s modern history. The museum exhibits Umm Kulthum’s personal costumes and jewelry, along her musical instruments and notes. It also shows photographs, official letters, diaries, and a collection of awards and decorations. It is possible to listen to Umm Kulthum’s songs while visiting the museum, and consult a database of photographs from her international tours and local concerts. Visitors can read what was published on her in the press from her debut in 1924. They can also view a documentary specially produced on her life, showing footages from her six movies, her many local and international concerts and ending with her funeral, the largest ever recorded in Egypt, which drew more than four million people to the streets of Cairo, to bid her a last farewell.

Address: Monasterli Palace, 1 al-Malik al-Salih street, Ruda

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Tel: +20 2 23631467

Date of construction : 1851

Architect: Hassan Fuad al-Manasterli

Architectural Style: Ottoman style

Date of Inauguration: 2001

Affiliation: Ministry of Culture

Links: www.umkalthoum.gov.eg

#10 Prince Muhammad Ali Museum

(Manial Palace)

متحف الأمير محمد على  (متحف المنيل)

The Prince Muhammad Ali (1875-1955) is the son of Khedive Tawfiq (r. 1879-1892) and the younger brother of Khedive Abbas Hilmi II (r. 1892-1914). He became the Crown Prince of Egypt three times, but never made it to the throne. He designed the Manial Palace himself and supervised its construction on the Ruda Island. His aim was to revive Islamic traditional arts and craft which he was very passionate about. The architecture of the palace is a fascinating mix between many Islamic styles inspired by the arts of the Fatimids, Mamluks and Ottomans. It is lavishly decorated with colored tiles and intricate geometric design with inscriptions on plaster, wood and bronze. The garden was planted with rare tropical plants which were collected by the prince during his many travels.

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The prince was an avid collector of art and he amassed a fine collection which is now exhibited in his museum. He first erected this space in the palace with the intention to leave it as a museum after his passing. It is housed within one of the sarays of the palace and is divided into fifteen halls. The collection contains rare example of manuscripts and Qurans, along with various art works, carpets, textile, arms and weapons.

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The museum was inaugurated in 2001. It is housed in one of the annexed buildings of the Monasterli Palace, located on the southern tip of the Ruda Island, next to the Nilometer. The palace was built in 1851 by Hasan Fuad Pasha al-Monasterli (d. 1859). The objects on display were collected from Umm Kulthum’s family members and fans. The collection is not only reflecting her personality and taste, but it is also a witness on the arts and culture of a very important period in Egypt’s modern history. The museum exhibits Umm Kulthum’s personal costumes and jewelry, along her musical instruments and notes. It also shows photographs, official letters, diaries, and a collection of awards and decorations. It is possible to listen to Umm Kulthum’s songs while visiting the museum, and consult a database of photographs from her international tours and local concerts. Visitors can read what was published on her in the press from her debut in 1924. They can also view a documentary specially produced on her life, showing footages from her six movies, her many local and international concerts and ending with her funeral, the largest ever recorded in Egypt, which drew more than four million people to the streets of Cairo, to bid her a last farewell.

Address: 1 al-Saray street, Manial Ruda

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Tel: +20223687495

Date of construction : between 1903 and 1943

Architect: Prince Muhammad Ali

Architectural Style: A mix of Traditional Islamic styles.

Date of Inauguration:  1984

Affiliation: Ministry of Antiquities

#11 Ahmad Shawki Museum

متحف أحمد شوقى

Ahmad Shawki (1868-1932), is a pivotal figure in Arabic literature. A poet of astonishing range and sensitivity, he was blessed with a good heart that earned him the love of thousands and patriotism that earned him the hatred of the British, who exiled him after the outbreak of World War One. Upon his return in 1920 he was crowned by his peers as the Prince of Poets or Amir al-Shu’ara. Shawki studied initially in Montpelier and in Paris to become a lawyer, but he later became one of the most prominent figures of the Arab literary culture.

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This museum was his home. It’s a beautiful building overlooking the Nile in Giza. He first acquired it in 1914 and named it Karmit ibn Hani’. In 1977, it was transformed into a museum. The collection contains the poet’s trophies, medals, certificates and personnel items. His personnel library has 332 books. It also houses more than 700 valuable draft manuscripts of poems hand-written by Shawki. An audio library can be consulted containing records with the voice of Muhammad Abd al-Wahab singing in the presence of Shawki, who was the one to introduce the composer to the public. A monumental bronze statue adorns the garden. It was made by the artist Gamal al-Sigini, who gifted it to the museum in 1982 to commemorate fifty years after the death of Shawki. The statue is a replica of another one made in 1962 by the same sculptor and commissioned by the Italian government. It is now standing in Villa Borghese in Rome, along other world artistic figures.

Address: 6 Ahmad Shawki street, Giza

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Closed on Monday

Tel: +20235729479

Date of construction : ca. 1914

Architect: Not identified

Architectural Style: Neo-classical

Date of Inauguration: 1977

Affiliation: Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Antiquities and the Ministry of Agriculture

#12 Taha Hussein Museum

متحف طه حسين

Taha Hussein (1889-1973) is one of the most influential 20th century Egyptian writers and intellectuals, and a figurehead for the Nahda—Arab Renaissance and the modernist movement in the Arab World. Hussein had very bold views and he advocated against  the confinement of education to the rich people only and lead social and political reforms.

Hussein came from a modest background and he was blinded due to illness at the age of three. Nevertheless, he was sent in 1902 to al-Azhar, then in 1908 he entered the newly opened secular university and obtained his first doctorate. He became a professor of Arabic Literature and Greek History. His studies at the Sorbonne introduced him to the arts and culture of the West and he obtained his second doctorate written on Ibn Khaldun in 1917.

While serving as Minister of Education (1950-1952) in the last government formed by the Wafd Party before the overthrow of the monarchy, Taha Hussein extended state education and abolished school fees. He is often quoted by his phrase “Education is as water and air, he right of every human being”. He also strongly defended the use of literary over colloquial Arabic.

His writings in Arabic include novels, criticism and social and political essays. He is best known through his autobiography, al-Ayyam or the Days (3 vols., 1929-1967), the first modern Arab literary work acclaimed by the West.

After his death, the State bought his house and converted it into a museum carrying the name of al-Ramatan or the two oases, where traveling caravans stop to take rest. Taha Hussein designed the villa to be shared with his son, with two separate entrances. The Museum house Hussein’s personnel belongings, and a monumental library of 7000 books. In one of the corners of the reception hall stands a piano, a gramophone and records of musical works by Schubert, Verdi, Bach, Mozart, Schumann and others.

Address: 11 Taha Hussein street, al-Haram

Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed on Friday and Saturday

Tel:  +20 2 35852818 

Date of construction : 1954

Architect: Not identified

Architectural Style: Modern

Date of Inauguration: 1991

Affiliation: Ministry of Culture