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Itinerari mediterranei fra IV e IX secolo. Città-capitale e Deserto-monastico

Beatrice Astrua

The Role of the Antiquities Museum of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to Preserve the Archeological Heritage in Alexandria

Badrya Serry

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Introduction Library and Antiquities Museum

1The new Library was designed to include all fields of knowledge, and to house in coherence and harmony, research centers, art exhibitions, conference halls, thousands of books, manuscripts, antiquities and electronic data-bases.

2It is our hope that the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina will be a worthy successor to the ancient library of Alexandria.

3It contains:

  • a library that can hold millions of books:

  • a center for the internet and its archive;

  • six specialized libraries for audio-visual, children, the youth, rare books and special collections;

  • three museums for antiquities, manuscripts and the history of science:

  • a planetarium;

  • an exploratorium for children’s exposure to science;

  • seven permanent exhibitions;

  • four art galleries for temporary exhibitions;

  • a conference center for thousands of people;

  • seven research institutions covering manuscripts, documentation of heritage, calligraphy and writing;

  • a dialogue forum.

4The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was officially inaugurated in October 16th, 2002. In the short period since its inauguration, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has become an important force for the promotion of nationality, the scientific outlook and enlighten values in Egypt and the region.

5It aspires to be a place for dialogue, learning and understanding. The vision for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is to be an international center of excellence for the production and dissemination of knowledge and for preserving the heritage of humanity.

6The new Library of Alexandria is the first institution of its kind in the age of the internet, of the dazzling revolution in information and communication technology.

7The new Library aspires to renew its ancient glorious traditions and will strive to honor the past, to celebrate the present and embrace the future.

The Antiquities Museum

8The Antiquities Museum in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is one of the few museums in the world that displays artifacts found in the same location at the museum and its activities.

9The Antiquities Museum plays an important role in spreading cultural and archaeological discoveries in Alexandria.

10Its mission is to promote research and creativity to all through different programs and activities.

11The Museum’s collection was carefully selected to reflect the rich, multi-cultural history of Egypt with its Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic heritage with a special emphasis on Alexandria and the Hellenistic period.

12The 1079 pieces (artifacts) in the Museum include two unique collections: artifacts found during the excavation work on the construction site (1993-95) and underwater antiquities hauled up from the Mediterranean sealed near the eastern harbor and western harbor of Alexandria.

13It is designed in a very modern way using the most sophisticated techniques of interior decorations, optic lighting systems suitable for the exhibits, theft alarm and fire fighting systems.

14The Museum became one of the main attractions, not only of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina but also of the culturally diverse city of Alexandria itself. The pieces do not only represent the historical symbols, but they also represent all the scientific, cultural, artistic, religious and social fields.

15The extra ordinary idea of hosting a museum of antiquities within the cultural complex of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was born when several exquisite pieces dating back to the Hellenistic era were unearthed during the excavation work carried out at the construction site of the Library’s main building.

16The Antiquities Museum in Bibliotheca Alexandrina is one of the few museums in the world that displays artifacts found in the same location at the Museum such as the mosaic which are exhibited in a special room inside the Museum.


17The Antiquities Museum is aiming to create the following projects:

  1. a complete database for all the artifacts of the Museum;

  2. a new website;

  3. a CD displaying the Museum collections;

  4. tools for raising the young generation awareness about the civilization of their country.

  1. <#ITALIQUES#></#ITALIQUES#>The Museum database
    A complete database was planned by the Museum staff and very detailed categories system was drawn up to classify the Museum artifacts in order to make the Museum collections accessible to online users. The ICT team was in charge of the database programming.

  2. The new website
    A website was planned by the Museum staff to match the needs of online users.
    Historical previews for each of the eras Egypt has been through and about 60 highlights covering the different sections of the Museum were prepared by the Museum staff and then reviewed by specialized university professors, each in his area of expertise.

  3. Museum CD
    The Museum CD offers glimpses about the consecutive eras Egypt has gone through and the artistic features of each of these periods. The CD also displays the masterpieces of the Museum in a lucid and clear manner. This project, which was prepared in Arabic, English and French, also comprises a thirty-minute movie about the different sections of the Museum and the most unique artifacts the Museum houses. Furthermore, one may explore each of the Museum’s halls thanks to virtual visit panoramas.

  4. Tools for raising the young generation awareness about the civilization of their country

  1. The children’s story
    An interesting cartoon story about the Museum collections was prepared for the children aged 8-15 in both Arabic and English. It will be issued in the occasion of the youth day and will be available in the Library Bookshop.

  2. The Museum first cultural season
    A series of lectures were given this summer by the Museum staff in order to raise the young people awareness of the history and civilization of Egypt. The lectures included a variety of topics such as: Ancient Egyptian Costumes, Socrates and the Meaning of Philosophy, Submerged Antiquities, Hercules, Mosaic Art, and the Ancient Egyptian funerary statuettes.

  3. The art workshop
    Talent candidates are selected to make replicas of the Museum artifacts using a variety of materials such as lino, salt panels, cork, gypsum, plasticine and charcoal. The children also receive a historical background about the artifact they are interested in copying. The work of the participants will be displayed in a special exhibition.

18Established in 2001, the Antiquities Museum of Bibliotheca Alexandrina aims to give its visitors a glimpse of the consecutive eras of Egypt’s history.

19It also aims to raise the cultural awareness of young people by proposing to them a variety of educational programs.




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