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The Ägyptisches Museum (Egyptian Museum) is one of the oldest sections of the former Royal Art Collection. On Alexander von Humboldt's recommendation an Egyptian section was founded in 1828 during the reign of King Frederick William III. Between 1842 and 1845 a Prussian expedition travelled Egypt and received 1,500 objects from Mohamed Ali. In 1850 the Egyptian Museum moved into its newly built premises at the Neues Museum on Museum Island. Items acquired by purchase, as donations or from expeditions increased the size of the collection in the following years. The most significant excavations were carried out in Amarna from 1911 to 1914. Finds from this project are among the museum's finest treasures.
The Second World War had a catastrophic effect on the collection. The Neues Museum was badly damaged and many objects were destroyed by fire. The remaining exhibits were removed for safekeeping. Then, after the war, the collection was divided. Works returned from the Soviet Union in 1958 were placed in the Bode Museum. The exhibition concentrated mainly on culture and religion during the reign of the Pharaohs. Visitors gained insights into the beliefs and perceptions of the ancient Egyptians when walking among the great reliefs from pyramid temples of the third millennium BC and from burial chambers, huge statues of gods and kings, sarcophagi, painted coffins and mummy masks. A variety of installations increased awareness of ancient Egyptian culture and everyday life. Exhibits from the Papyrussammlung (Papyrus Collection) ranged from examples of classic Egyptian literature and illustrated books of the dead, to manuscripts of Christian and Arab times.
The museum was closed since 1998 due to modernization. The above sections were integrated into the Charlottenburg presentation, which first went on show in 1967 in the former Royal Guardhouse, opposite Charlottenburg Palace.
In January 1991 the two collections were officially reunited and new concepts began to develop. Within the context of the Masterplan Museum Island the Egyptian Museum moved back to the Neues Museum and was re-opened there in 2009.