There are a lot of independent guides who tout for business at the museum's gates, and as there are few labels to explain each exhibit, it is worthwhile to hire one to show you around. Most guides speak French and/or English and are likely to be working students, earning money for their educations. Ask questions and negotiate a price before embarking on the tour. Ask a few guides and shop around for the rate to determine what is fair.
Passing through the gates
After your hour-long queue during high season, you will have to go through a security check, passing your belongings through an x-ray scanner. Objectionable items need to be placed in the left-luggage, but this is not very safe, as there are no locks at the storage and any tourist can claim to own your item and walk out with it. So it’s best not to bring too many things with you on your visit. Only your valuables, like your cash and passport, will do.
If you'd like to bring your camera into the museum, you may, but you'd have to pay to purchase a permit for its use inside. This is in the form of a sticker, which needs to be placed on the camera to be used within its premises. Take note that photography is only allowed between the hours of 9am to 2pm. Flash photography is not allowed at any time. Costs for the permit range between EGP$10 for automatics to EGP$175 for pro SLRs. Video cameras cost EGP$100. EGP$10 is roughly equal to US$1.61. EGP$100 is equal to $16. (As of the end of Oct 2004).
There is a small souvenir shop to the right of the entrance offering reproductions of some of the more popular artifacts exhibited in the museum, including the blue fertility hippos made popular by the Metropolitan Museum store. You can also purchase cartouches spelling out your name in Egyptian hieroglyphics. But for these, you'd need to return after your visit for them. So if you're interested, place your order before you tour the place. There are other shops offering the same, but likely for a fraction less. Other collectibles popular with tourists are little lapis lazuli scarabs (as good-luck charms) and basalt Bastet cat statues.
It costs EGP$20 per person, with an extra charge of EGP$40 for the Royal Mummy Room; children are half price.
Phone: +20 (0)2 579 6974; Fax: +20 (0)2 579 4596.
The museum is found on Mariette Pasha Street, on the north side of Tahrir Square, right next to the Nile Hilton Hotel, whose sign is very prominently displayed as you come onto the roundabout.
Opening hours of the museum are 9am to 6:30pm daily, with the last admission at 6pm sharp. During Ramadan, it closes at 3pm.