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How much time for Egyptian Museum of Antiquity

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Jan 26th, 2011, 02:51 PM
  #1
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How much time for Egyptian Museum of Antiquity

Intend to travel to Egypt to see the sites in October. We are interested in the museum. Most itineraries I have seen include the museum, of course, but usually for a half a day or so. It is also suggested by most guide books, that it is helpful to have a guide, as the museum is congested and not as well organized as many others.
That said, should I have an extra day to return to the museum to go through it at our own pace? Or should I have a whole day set aside for the museum?
Whichever way, I would have a guide with us in order to negotiate the place.
Just trying to get an idea of the amount of time in the museum is optimum. Of course, probably one could spend days and not see it all. We only have one or so.
Thanks for any thoughts on this.
BillJ is offline  
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Jan 26th, 2011, 02:55 PM
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There would never be sufficient time to see everything. Let alone what's displayed but what's in the basement that no one ever sees or only when Zahi moves items around - one mummy is moved and replaced by another, etc.. Half-day is a good intro and should be done with a guide. But if you can set aside at least another half-day (w/ or w/o guide) to return, you'll be well served.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 07:33 PM
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I agree with Sandi. We had half a day with a guide and it wasn't nearly enough time. If you visit Luxor be sure to see the museum there. It is small compared to the one in Cairo, not very busy and well worth a visit.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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I had two half days with a guide,at the beginning of my tour and at the end.

It was nice to go back the second time because there is a lot to take in a one time. !
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Jan 27th, 2011, 01:35 AM
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I had two half days with two different guides. They did point out similar items that they thought of importance, but they both did it in different ways so that we still thoroughly enjoyed looking at and hearing about a particular antiquity twice.

I would not change what we did. I think a full day would be too much to do the same thing the whole day.

I asked both guides what their favourite items were from a) king tuts things and b) the rest of the museum. Was interesting to hear them talk excitedly about what they liked and why.
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Jan 27th, 2011, 03:45 PM
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1. Be at the museum by 8:00AM, when they open the gates to the musuem grounds.
2. Go through the security check point/metal detector at the gate, look around the garden, and take whatever photos you want of the exterior, the statuary, and the ornamental papyrus and lotus pond. These are all the photos you will get to take.
3. Go to one of the tickets kiosks along the side of the entrance gate and buy your museum tickets before the ticket line gets too long - and just as important - check in your backpack, large purse, large bags, and camera (they will not let you in if you have a camera).
4. By 8:40 tops, you should be in the second line forming at the bottom of the steps to the main door (hopefully, near or at the head of this line so you will be one of the first in the museum)
5. They will start letting people in the museum itself at about 9:00 AM. You will go through another metal detector at the door, and hand over your ticket (but you will not be sent back since you will have already checked in your camera).
6. You will find yourself in a large ground-floor hall with left and right wings. Ignore everything you see. Turn right, bypassing the clots of tourists parked motionelss by their guides droning on and on while time is wasting, and immediately start speed-walking as fast as possible down the ground-floor right wing, towards the staircase dimly visible at the end of the wing.
7. Go up the staircase and turn left at the top of the staircase into the long hall, and keep going at "ramming speed" down the hall. You will pass marvels - ignore them.
8. At the end of the long hall to the right will be the room with the gold from Tutankamen's tomb. Enter and claim your reward for going through steps 1 - 7 - being able to enjoy the golden treasures in solitude for as long as 15 - 20 blissful minutes before the hordes start pouring in.
9. Then go out of the gold room, and back-track down the long hall, looking at the other stuff from Tut's tomb. At this point, there there should still not be too many people there so you should be able to stand next to the display cases and see stuff - rather than craning your neck to over 5-people deep crowds
10. Go to the room off the long hall with the 12th dynasty jewelry - which is exquisite and should also be seen as soon as possible before 6-deep crowds make it impossible to appreciate the small pieces.
12. Maybe then go downstairs and see first the Old Kingdom galleries since these will get crowded, and the Akhetaten exhibits, etc...
13. Then maybe work back upstairs and see all the little rooms in the center - there is some great stuff in there, and these rooms are virtually empty of visitors.
13. Don't miss the royal mummy room - probably not so crowded since you have to pay a hefty extra tariff to get in there.

The Cairo museum is not particularly big, compared to say, the Louvre or the British Museum, and its organization is not confusing, though the signage does leave a lot to be desired (though to me, that was almost part of the charm of the museum). The museum is really not that hard to navigate yourself if you have a good layout map and a good guideboook that describe in detail what is in which room.

But the rooms with the "famous" stuff do get very crowded. The keys are maneuverability and movement - to get to the most popular stuff before the crowds become so heavy you can't see anything. I am not anti-guide per se, but guides only slow you down in this kind of situation. I would rather be seeing the exquisite detail of King Tut's gold pectorals up close, than be trapped downstairs listening to some guide blathering on and on about 18th Dynasty power-politics.

And for its size, the musuem does have a lot of stuff crammed into it. You can see the popular "highlights" in one day (morning to mid-afternoon). But you might want to come back for a second visit to see the rest at leisure (remember, many of the rooms with the lesser-known stuff are not crowded at all).
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Jan 27th, 2011, 04:10 PM
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Wow, I really love this step-by-step guide. Thanks! I'll be headed there in a few weeks (hopefully.)

I'd like to add a book recommendation: The Treasures of Ancient Egypt - The Collection of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo by VMB Publishers available on Amazon for $11. It's too heavy to pack for the trip, but I'm enjoying the preview.

I thought about heading to the museum early, but then read it really clears out later in the day when the tour groups leave. Therefore, I was planning on arriving about 15:00. That will give me about 4 hours until closing at 19:00. Does this sound reasonable? Thanks
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Jan 27th, 2011, 05:57 PM
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Pasqualino: Over on Trip Advisor, a correspondent reports that the museum has been closing at noon for the last several days due to the civil unrest.

resi........: thanks so much for those recommendations. We've been comfortable in many museums without guides, but usually had the audio guides, which we generally use.
Maybe 20 years ago, we saw Tut's stuff when it was on tour in the US. Saw it at the San Francisco museum. I originally thought maybe we don't have to see it again, given the crowds everyone reports. But now, haha, I have the secret way to get there ahead of everyone.
Can't thank you enough.
I'm copying this for the file.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 12:55 AM
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I wanted to reply specifically to resipsaloquitur but don't know how. I did exactly what you said on March 31, 2015 and had about 20 lovely minutes alone to explore Kin Tut's treasures before the crowds found it. Last year, I found a similar guide to getting into the Colosseum alone and my sister and I had about 5 minutes there alone before the crowds came. It's a personal triumph to experience these things alone for any amount of time. It's also quite fun to be the first. Thank you.
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