The Coptic Museum is a museum in Coptic Cairo, Egypt . It has the largest collection of Coptic Christian artifacts in the world. Marcus Simaika founded it in 1908 to house Coptic antiquities. The museum traces the history of Egypt from its beginnings to the present day. It is on 8,000 square meter land .
The Coptic museum houses the world’s most important examples of Coptic art.
History of Coptic Museum
In 1908, after receiving approval and a number of silver antiquities from Patriarch Cyril V and raising funds by public subscription, Marcus Simaika Pasha built the Coptic Museum and inaugurated it on 14 March 1910. The Coptic community was generous in their support of the museum, donating many vestments, frescoes, and icons. In 1931 it became a state museum, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquities, and in 1939 the collection of Christian antiquities in the Egyptian Museum moved there. These were housed in the New Wing, completed in 1944. Because of damage, the Old Wing closed in 1966, and the entire museum renovated between 1983 and 1984. The foundations of the museum were strengthened and reinforced between 1986 and 1988, which helped the museum survive the 1992 earthquake. Further renovations took place in 2005–06.
Dr Togo Mina followed Marcus Simaika Pasha and then by Dr Pahor Labib, the first to have the title of Director of the Coptic Museum. Besides the museum buildings, there are gardens and courtyards and the area surrounded by old Coptic churches. Significantly, There are six churches, some which have origins as early as the 5th century AD. These old edifices include the (Hanging church) of the Virgin Mary and the church of St. Sergius.
In fact, the Coptic Museum’s grounds are a peaceful and tranquil place. Its airy building is with mosaics and with old mashrabiya screens. The museum houses an extensive collection of objects from the Christian era, which links the Pharaonic and Islamic periods. The artefacts on display illustrate a period of Egypt’s history which is often neglected and they show how the artistic development of the Coptic culture was influenced by the pharaonic, Graeco-Roman and Islamic cultures. The museum renovated in the early 1980 with two new annexes, which with the original aisles, houses the collection of 16,000 artefacts arranged in chronological order through twelve sections.