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Monday, January 30, 2017
Opening Soon, Cairo: Hunting Museum Reopens in Manial Palace
After a decade of closure, the Hunting Museum in Manial Palace is to be
reopened soon. Written By/ Nevien El-Aref.
Mummified gazelle heads
In the arched corridor beneath the walls of the Manial Palace in Cairo
where the Hunting Museum is located, curators, restorers, designers and workers
are all racing against the clock to reach the deadline for the museum’s
Armed with yellow helmets and grey gloves, workers are putting the
showcases in position, while restorers with their white gowns and technical
tools are installing a skeleton of a camel that once transported the Kaaba
cover, a vast piece of embroidery, from Cairo to Mecca in the early 1900s.
“Work is at full swing,” Elham
Salah, head of the Museums Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, told
Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that the Hunting Museum was scheduled to be officially
reopened in mid-February during the mid-term school holiday after a decade of
She said that when Manial Palace was officially inaugurated in 2013
after restoration work, the Hunting Museum was not among the halls that were
opened to public. Last month, with a budget of LE140,000 provided by the
Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, the Museums Department began the
renovation and restoration of the museum in order to open it to the public
during the mid-term holiday.
Salah and Badawi inspecting the displaying scenario
The museum displays preserved animals, birds and skeletons from the
collection of former King Farouk and Princes Mohamed Ali Tewfik and Youssef
Kamal collected during their hunting trips. “Among the most beautiful and
unique collection on display is the butterfly collection of prince Mohamed Ali
Tewfik, the former owner of Manial Palace,” Salah said, adding that the
collection consisted of 7,000 butterflies.
Sameh Al-Masri, the designer of the museum’s galleries, has brought the
aura of the jungle into the galleries of the Hunting Museum, Salah said, adding
that the roar of lions, sound of chickens, screech of eagles, and trumpeting of
elephants would echo on the audio system. Visual effects would be used to
suggest something of the ambiance in which the objects on display were
Walaa Badawi, director of the Manial Palace, told the Weekly that the
story of the museum started after the 1952 Revolution when an inventory was
carried out of the property of members of Egypt’s former royal family.
When the committee in charge of the inventory detected a large
collection of animals and birds, a section of the arched corridor beneath the
palace walls was transformed into a Hunting Museum with 15 galleries displaying
10,000 animals and birds from the collection of former King Farouk, who was
very fond with hunting, and princes Youssef Kamal from his palace in Matariya
and Mohamed Ali Tewfik in Manial Palace.
The museum was inaugurated in 1963, closing in 2007 for restoration.
Even after the reinauguration of the palace, the museum remained closed,
however. “In 2015, I took the initiative to call for the restoration of the
Hunting Museum as it is unique of its kind in Egypt,” Badawi said. Funds were found earlier this year, and restoration work started by
restorer Manal Abdel-Moneim and her team. Some of the animals were in bad
condition due to temperature and humidity fluctuations, but much of the damage
was reversibl......READ MORE.