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Directors

Directors of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Yusuf Diya Effendi (Director 1835–1850)

In 1835, Khedive Mohamed Ali (1769–1849) issued a decree to protect Egyptian monuments and halt the unregulated export of antiquities. This decree mandated several actions to be undertaken to protect Egyptian heritage, including:

  • Securing monuments in Upper Egypt which were under threat from quarrying and looting;
  • The regulation of excavations at archaeological sites, including the ban on the extensive sale and export of artefacts without permission;
  • The establishment of a centralised museum in Cairo to hold and display ancient objects.

Yusuf Diya Effendi was appointed by the Khedive to make inspections of sites in Upper Egypt, collect objects, and establish the first museum in Egypt, located in the El-Ezbekia district of Downtown, Cairo.

Auguste Mariette (Director 1858–1881)

Born in France (b. 1821–1881), Mariette was given the position of Director of the Egyptian collection by Sa’id Pasha in 1858. In 1863, with the support of the Khedive Ismail Mariette, he was able to inaugurate a new museum located in Boulaq, close to the State Television Building and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under his directorship the collection out-grew the museum building, and in 1878, flooding caused the temporary closure of the museum. In 1881, Mariette died in Cairo, and his tomb is today located on the western side of the Egyptian Museum’s garden.

Gaston Maspero (Director 1881–1886)

Born in France (b. 1846–1916), Maspero succeeded Mariette as Director General of Excavations and Antiquities, and Director of Bulaq Museum.

The year of his appointment saw the reopening of the museum after repairs, as well as the discovery of a cache of royal mummies at Deir el-Bahari. Maspero left Cairo to work in Paris between 1886–1889, before returning to Cairo and his directorship of the Egyptian Museum in 1899.

Grébaut Eugène (Director 1886–1892)

Born in France (b. 1846–1915), Eugène had been Director of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale in Cairo before succeeding Maspero as Director of the Antiquities Service and Egyptian Museum in 1886. During this time, he managed to clear away the sand around the Sphinx at the Giza Plateau, where he uncovered the famous ‘Dream Stela’ of Thutmosis IV. By 1890, the overall size of the collection had increased beyond the Boulaq Museum’s ability to contain an ever-growing number of objects. In response, Eugène oversaw the transfer of the entire collection to the Ismail Pasha Palace in Giza, located at the present-day Giza Zoo. He resigned his position in 1892 and spent the rest of his life in France.

Jacques de Morgan (Director 1892–1899)

Born in France (b. 1857–1924), de Morgan studied mining engineering, geology and archaeology. He became Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, and the Museum located at the Ismail Pasha Palace in Giza. It was becoming increasingly clear that this Palace was neither secure nor large enough to house the hundreds of objects regularly arriving from excavations. Furthermore, the palace lacked space for laboratories, a library, and administrative offices, which made it difficult to establish a well-functioning institution. Between 1893 and 1895, an official committee of the Ministry of Public Works announced an international competition for the design of a new Egyptian Museum, to be built in Ismailia Square (Tahrir Square). Eighty-seven proposals for the new construction project were submitted, and finally the design by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon was chosen. Construction was entrusted to an Italian company, Giuseppe Garozzoand Francesco Zaffrani. On the 1st of April 1897, the cornerstone of the Egyptian Museum was laid, in the presence of Khedive Abbas Hilmy.

Gaston Maspero (Director 1899–1914)

Maspero returned to Cairo in 1899 to resume his position as Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, and Director of the new Egyptian Museum which was being built in present day Tahrir Square. He was entrusted with the final phase of scientific supervision, setting-up the collection and management of the new premises. The new museum occupied an area of 15,000 square meters, and cost about 240,000 Egyptian Pounds at the time. On the 15th of November 1902, the Egyptian daily newspaper Al Ahram announced the official opening of the Egyptian Museum.

Pierre Lacau (Director 1914–1936)

Born in France (b. 1873–1963), Lacau had been Director of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale in Cairo before succeeding Maspero as Director of the Antiquities Service and Egyptian Museum in 1914. However, he was unable to take-up his appointment until the end of the First World War. Lacaus’ achievements while Director of the Egyptian Museum include the establishment of an international commission for drafting the General Catalogue for the museum; the limiting of excavation concessions to representatives of public institutions and societies; and changes to the law regarding the division of archaeological discoveries, with the Egyptian government assuming the right to all unique finds. It was during Lacaus’ time as director that the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922, and he oversaw the works conducted by Howard Carter and his team.

Reginald Engelbach (Director 1931–1941)

Born in England (b. 1888-1946), Engelbach studied engineering before changing to Egyptology and working throughout Egypt as an archaeologist with W.M.F. Petrie. On taking up his position as Director of the Egyptian Museum in 1931, his major achievement was the systematic registration of artefacts held in the museum’s collection. After his directorship, he remained at the Egyptian Museum as the Technical Advisor to his successor, Mahmoud Ali Hamza, until his death in Cairo.

Mahmoud Ali Hamza (Director 1941–1950)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Cairo (b. 1890–1976), Hamza studied Egyptology at the higher Teachers' Training College in Cairo, the Institute of Archaeology, Liverpool, and at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. He became the first Egyptian Director of the Egyptian Museum in 1941 until his retirement in 1950.

Abbas Bayoumi (Director 1950–1956)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Asyut (b. 1904–1983), Bayoumi studied Egyptology in Paris at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. He held the position of Director of the Museum from 1950 until his retirement in 1956.

Moharram Kamal (Director 1956–1957)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1908–1966), Kamal studied at Cairo University and abroad. He held the position of Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1956 until his retirement in 1957.

Maurice Raphael (Director 1957–1960)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt, Raphael studied archaeology at Cairo University and abroad. He held the position of Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1957 until his retirement in 1960.

Victor Antoun Girgis (Director 1960–1965)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1905–1969), Girgis was educated in Egypt and Italy. He held the position of Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1960 until his retirement in 1965.

Mohamed Hassan Abdel Rahman (Director 1965–1967)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt, Abdel Rahman studied at the Faculty of Dar-al Ulum (Arabic Studies) of Cairo University, before studying archaeology in Egypt, and museology in France. He held the position of Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1965 until his retirement in 1967.

Henry Riad Ghabur (Director 1967–1973)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1913–2006), Ghabur studied Egyptology and Archaeology at the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, and in France. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1967 until 1973. In 1973, he served as Director General of the Egyptian Antiquities until his retirement.

Abdel Kader Selim (Director 1973–1977)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Tanta (b. 1922–2002), Selim studied at Cairo University, the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and the École des Anciennes Langues Orientales in France. He held the position of Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1973 until his retirement in 1977.

Hassan Ali (Director 1977–1978)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Mansoura, Ali graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Archaeology Department, Cairo University in 1958. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for six months from 1977 until 1978. In 1996, he became the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities until his retirement in 1997.

Dia Abu Ghazi (Director 1978)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Cairo (b. 1924–2001), Ghazi studied Egyptology at Fouad I University (Later Cairo University) and was the first woman to receive a diploma in Egyptology from Cairo University in 1949. She held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for six months during 1978.

Hassan el-A’ashiry (Director 1978)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt, el-A’ashiry held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for six months during 1978.

Mohamed Mohsen (Director 1978–1982 and 1987–1991)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Zagazig (b. 1932–2001), Mohsen studied Egyptology at Ain Shams University, Archaeology Department. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1978 until 1982, and again from 1987 until his retirement in1991.

Mohamed Saleh Ali (Director 1981–1987 and 1991–1999)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1939), Salah studied Egyptology in Cairo University and Heidelberg University, Germany, where he earned his PhD in 1975. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1991 until his retirement in 1999.

Mohamed el Shimy (Director 1999–2000)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1943), el Shimy studied Egyptology at Cairo University and the University of Lyon, France, where he wrote his thesis on perfumes in Zncient Egypt. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 1999 until his retirement in 2000.

Sohir El Sawai (Director 2000–2001)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1945), El Sawai graduated from Ain-Shams University, Faculty of Arts, in Greek and Latin, in 1968. She held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2000 until 2001.

Mamdouh El-Damaty (Director 2001–2004)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Cairo (b. 1961), El-Damaty graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1983. He obtained his PhD from Trier University, Germany, in 1995, and is Professor of Egyptology at Ain Shams University in Cairo. El-Damaty held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2001 until 2004. From 2011 until 2014, he acted as Egypt’s Cultural Counsellor and Head of the Educational Mission at the Embassy of Egypt in Berlin. El-Damaty returned to Egypt in 2014 to take the position of Minister of Antiquities from 2014 until 2016.

Wafaa Taha El Saddik (Director 2004–2010)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1950), El Saddik studied Egyptology at Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology and the University of Vienna, where she earned her PhD in 1983. She held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2004 until 2010.

Tarek el-A’wady (Director 2010–2012)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt, el-A’wady studied at Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, where he earned his PhD. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2010 until 2012. It was during his time as Director that he had to secure and manage the Egyptian Museum after the looting that occurred on the 28th of January 2011.

Sayed Hassan (Director 2012)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1952), Hassan graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1977. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for nine months until his retirement during 2012.

Salwa Abdel Rahman (Director 2012–2013)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1953), Abdel Rahman graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1977.

She held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for five months from 2012 until her retirement in 2013.

Sayed A’amer (Director 2013–2014)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1954), A’amer graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1978. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2013 until his retirement in 2014.

Mahmoud Hassan El Halwagy (Director 2014–2015)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1956), El Halwagy graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1979. He held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum from 2014 until his retirement in 2015.

Khaled El Anany (Director 2015–2016)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1971), El Anany graduated from Paul-Valéry University, Montpellier III, in France, earning his PhD in 2001. From 2011, he served as Professor of Egyptology at Helwan University, where he was Head of the Tourism Guidance Department, and Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management. El Anany became the General Director of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in 2014, and in 2015 was appointed the General Director of the Egyptian Museum. He acted as General Director of two museums until 2016, when he was appointed Minister of Antiquities. In 2019 El Anany was made Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

Somaya Abdel Khaleq (Director 2016)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1956), Abdel Khaleq graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, in 1980. She held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum for six months until her retirement in 2016.

Sabah Abdel Razek (Director 2016–present)

An Egyptian Egyptologist, born in Egypt (b. 1963), Abdel Razek studied Archaeology and Museology at Cairo University, Faculty of Archaeology, graduating in 1987. She has held the position of General Director of the Egyptian Museum since 2016.