The Egyptian Museum is the oldest museum in the world dedicated entirely to Egyptian culture.
The museum was founded in 1824 and is considered the oldest and most significant museum of Egyptian artifacts in the world, after the one in Cairo. Many internationally renowned scholars, starting with the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Jean-François Champollion, who arrived in Turin in 1824, have since then devoted themselves to the study of his collections, thus confirming what Champollion wrote: "The road to Memphis and Thebes passes from Turin ".
Since its foundation (1824), the Egyptian Museum has been housed in the building called "Collegio dei Nobili", built to a design by Michelangelo Garove from 1679, in which the first antiquities of the Drovetti collection, purchased by King Carlo Felice, were exhibited. . The building, thanks to interventions by Giuseppe Maria Talucchi and Alessandro Mazzucchetti, was enlarged and adapted to its new use in the second half of the 19th century. Already in 1832, however, the Museum opened to the public.
In addition to Egyptian antiquities, there were also Roman, pre-Roman and prehistoric finds, along with a natural history section. The building was (and still is) shared with the Academy of Sciences. After an initial arrangement in the opposite part of the building, the Gallery of the Kings, or Statuary, was moved to its current rooms. In addition, during the 1800s, the Royal Museum of Antiquities and Egypt also acquired some minor collections from private individuals or through exchanges with other museums.
Between 1903 and 1937 the archaeological excavations conducted in Egypt by Ernesto Schiaparelli and then by Giulio Farina brought about 30,000 finds to Turin. The Museum had a first rearrangement of the rooms in 1908 and a second, more important one, in 1924, with the official visit of the King. In this regard, to make up for the lack of space, Schiaparelli renovated the new wing of the Museum (later called Schiaparelli ”), in which he exhibited finds from Assiut and Gebelein.
Further renovations and adaptations took place in the 1930s (with the installation of the Pinacoteca) and in the late 1980s (with the new arrangement of the Schiaparelli Wing). Particularly important was the reconstruction of the rock temple of Ellesiya donated by the Egyptian government in recognition of Italian aid in saving the Nubian temples threatened by the waters of the Aswan dam. For the transfer to Turin the structure was cut into 66 blocks and then inaugurated on 4 September 1970.
Starting from the 1980s, also following an increase in visitors, it became necessary to plan a new visit path that led to new exhibition spaces. In particular, the recovery and undermining of the Schiaparelli wing have made available large underground rooms dedicated to archaeological activities in Assiut, Qau el-Kebir and Gebelein. On the ground floor, a large room has been recovered to house the antiquities of the Predynastic Age and the Old Kingdom.
On the occasion of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, the statuary was rearranged by the scenographer Dante Ferretti.
The latest intervention has radically re-functionalized the spaces, the entire museum itinerary (divided into five exhibition floors) and the plant equipment, in view of the grand reopening in 2015.