The History of the Egyptian Museum


This exhibition takes a look back at Turin’s Baroque era and how its Egyptian Museum was influenced by distant lands. Hosting the exhibit is the Collegio dei Nobili, which was designed by Michelangelo Garove in 1679. In fact, it was in this very spot that the museum was originally founded to house the Drovetti Collection, after it was purchased by Charles Felix of Sardinia.

After the Egyptian Museum was refurbished in 2015, the management team felt it necessary to update the exhibitions dedicated to the museum’s history and founding, thereby answering a very frequently asked question: ‘Why exactly is there an Egyptian Museum in Turin?’ The new exhibition was opened on 19 December 2019 and sheds a light on the museum’s history via a series of innovative installations. Additional stories help to enrich the exhibit, thereby inserting Turin into a wider European context. In fact, the museum was initially founded after a marble fragment featuring the name of the goddess Isis was accidentally discovered in 1567 during works to fortify the city. Thus began speculation that Turin’s origins were perhaps somehow linked to mythological Egypt. This unlikely event piqued the interest of the Dukes of Savoy, who began to pay greater interest to Ancient Egyptian antiquities, culminating in the purchase of the Gonzaga Collection of Mantua in 1630, which comprised a variety of objects believed to be of Egyptian origin at the time. Among these artefacts was the Bembine Tablet, and a veiled head covered in strange symbols believed to be Egyptian hieroglyphics. As such, Turin’s fate soon became inextricably linked to Ancient Egypt. The new exhibit unfolds chronologically, and spans an era from the 1600s up to the Second World War.

Organised by the Fondazione Museo Egizio di Torino. The project is part of the Compagnia di San Paolo's "Baroque Effect" initiative.

The Egyptian Museum of Turin