Musee des Antiquites Algiers
The Musee des Antiquites (Museum of Antiquities) in Algiers, Algeria, is a notable African art museum that opened in 1897. This institution is famed for its extensive collection, which was once described in 1911 as the "finest of its kind in Algeria".
Collections at the Musee des Antiquites
The museum houses a vast range of objects associated with the rich history of Algeria and Rome, offering an insight into the evolution of art in Algeria over the course of 2,500 years.
The museum is divided into two sections:
- Classical Antiquity Section: This section, whose collection dates back to 1835, features sculptures, mosaics, and bronzes discovered at various archaeological sites across Algeria.
- Art of the Muslim West Section: Added to the initial collection in 1846, this section encompasses artifacts from the Muslim West (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain) and the Middle East. The exhibits mainly comprise manuscripts, coins, carpets and embroidery, ceramics, and woodwork.
The idea of establishing a library and a museum was conceived by Adrien Berbrugger, a former student of the School of Charters and secretary to Marshal Clauzel, in the early days of conquest. The first library was founded in February 1835, and the collections of antiquities were gathered at the Janissaires barracks on Rue Bab Azoun by 1838.
By 1845, the museum occupied a dozen rooms in the Djanina Palace. In 1848, both the Library and the Museum were relocated to a beautiful Moorish house on Rue des Lotophages, which was demolished in 1862. The museum artifacts were preserved alongside the first National Library of Algeria at the Mustapha Pasha Palace in the Casbah in 1863.
In 1896, the museum moved to a structure in the upper part of Galland Park, which had previously housed the first teacher training college. The museum was inaugurated by Félix Faure in 1897. In 2004, the Islamic art collection was transferred to a Moorish house adjacent to the main building.
Unfortunately, on March 9, 2019, the museum fell victim to looting during protests against President Bouteflika's fifth term.
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