The Egyptian Geological Museum
Sunday، 15 May 2016 - 12:00 AM
The Egyptian Geological Museum (EGM) was established and opened for the public in 1904, as a part of the Egyptian Geological Survey (EGS) founded earlier in 1896. Egyptians were the pioneers in extraction and utilization of metals and stones, the essential basics of civilization. They were the first to discover gold and copper and mine them from the Eastern Desert and Sinai.
The geological history of Egypt as indicated by it's fauna and flora is displayed in the Museum. There is also the unique collection of the Fayoum vertebrate fossils on display and a large collection of minerals, ores and rocks. In addition, a very valuable collection of meteorites discovered in Egypt and from other places in the world are displayed. These include the famous Egyptian meteorite “Nakhlite” believed to be from Mars.
The Museum is served by a library with references that date as far back as 1778, in addition to up to date references and bibliographies. These are available to the public and scientists. The Museum also includes some specialized laboratories for mineralogical, petrological and paleontological (both vertebrate and invertebrate) studies. Models for rare vertebrate fossils are made to facilitate detailed studies and preserve the original specimens. The Museum shares in the studies conducted on the protectorates and outstanding geological features in order to raise the public environmental awareness.
Joint researches and cooperation with other international geological surveys, universities and museums are among the major concerns of the Museum. Cooperation with Duke University (U.S.A.), Toronto and Milano Geological Museums (Italy), The Museum of Natural History in London (U.K.) are good examples. Also, support to local museums in universities and schools is offered. This includes providing samples and training secondary school teachers and specialists from other scientific institutions.
The museum is a part of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority (EGSMA). It was officially opened as a part of the Survey and was allocated a beautiful and specially designed building in the gardens of the Ministry of Public Works in downtown Cairo. It remained as one of the cultural centers in Cairo up to 1982 when the building was taken down and the Museum transferred to its present location near Maadi (southern Cairo).
The first Museum Keeper was William Andrews (1904), followed by Henry Osborne (1906). Hassan Sadek was the first Egyptian Museum Keeper.
The famous fossil collection of the Fayoum vertebrates was the first to be displayed in the new museum. The collection was dug from Fayoum in 1898, sent to the British Museum in London for identification in 1899 and returned for display. The collection continued to grow and become more varied with the increased number of field expedition and the different areas covered by field work.
The Geological Museum plays the essential role of introducing earth sciences to the public. It emphasizes the geology of Egypt, its minerals, rocks and fossils, through well organized displays. The Museum participates in the advancement of scientific research through collaboration with scientists from Egypt and abroad, who seek out famous collections of vertebrate fossils and meteorites.
The Museum collection is displayed in three galleries. These are described in brief, as follows:
A- Minerals & Rocks Gallery:
This Gallery is one of the three main galleries of the Museum where various specimens of minerals and rock are exhibited. These represent the main occurrences of minerals and rocks in Egypt and some important specimens from other parts of the world.
1- Mineral Exhibitions: These exhibitions show different varieties of minerals that are classified on the basis of their chemical composition, occurrences in Egypt, physical properties and uses.
2- Exhibitions of Rocks: These exhibitions show sample specimens of the three main groups of rocks consisting of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic as well as most of the famous Egyptian rocks.
B- Invertebrate Fossils Gallery:
This Gallery consists of the Rocks and Minerals, Invertebrate Fossils and Vertebrate Fossils galleries. This gallery is divided mainly into three divisions consisting of the Stratigraphics Sequence (Geological Column), Egyptian Geology as represented by fossils and Systematic paleontology. It also shows a collection of specimens that represent the methods of preservation as well as a gift of collection.
C- Vertebrate Fossils Gallery:
In addition to the three galleries, there is a library specialized in geological sciences. It hosts more than 10.000 text books, journals, periodicals, annals and maps. It includes original editions of many rare books such as Fossilen Mollusken by Von Wien (1836) , Echinodermes by Agassiz (1847) , Naqada and Betrie (1895) among others.
EGM is concerned with the history of the Earth as a whole. It explores life and its development during the various geological periods. During one visit to the Museum, one may gain considerable knowledge about the history of the Earth as well as the features of the Egyptian land over millions of years.