The Museum went through an important period of expansion that saw the annexation of the piece of land adjacent to the Museum that was previously occupied by a gas station. The two extra halls were used to house the Museum’s textile and carpet collection besides an internal storage area on the top floor, and a section for numismatics on the bottom one. The annexed plot of land was turned into a museum garden and a cafeteria
A new phase of comprehensive development was undertaken in 2003 which involved the construction of a new administrative building rising three stories high to house the staff offices, a library, a restoration department and a lecture hall. The display layout was completely modified so that the right- hand side of the main entrance was allocated to Islamic Art from the Umayyads until the Ottoman period, while the left-hand side was dedicated to Islamic Art by subject like the Arts of Turkey and Persia, together with thematic halls which focus on science, architecture, water and gardens, calligraphy and epigraphy which is very important in the study of the movement of Arab tribes and the social aspects in the various Islamic periods and countries. The development works are drawing to completion, especially after the installation of the central air-conditioning, alarm systems, video surveillance and all the modern display systems.
The administrative building was built and consisted of three-storey includes administrative offices, a library and a section for the restoration of the auditorium, the museum was opened on October 28, 2010, and then received visits from all spectra.
Unfortunately, on 24th January of 2014, the Museum was the victim of a vicious terrorist attack which has targeted the Cairo Police Headquarters that stands across the street from it. The Museum employees exerted heroic efforts in their attempts to save and rescue the artifacts; having to hand pick them sometimes, piece by piece, from the debris left by the explosion, and quickly confining them to safe storage spaces. The staff of the Museum’s Restoration Department had then to meticulously sift and sort out this massive amount of debris in order to put together the pieces associated with every single artifact, before proceeding with its successful restoration.
It took a whole year, until the beginning of 2015, before serious steps were taken to bring the Museum to its original state before the explosion.
This was made possible thanks to the generous grants and donations offered by such reputable entities such as the United Arab Emirates, the UNESCO, ARCE, the Swiss Government, and the Italian Government. This led to a complete revision of the display layout. The gift shop was moved to the Museum garden. New halls were added: one for coins and weaponry, one focusing on the daily life of Muslim families, and one dedicated to the Ottoman and Muḥammad Ali eras. The main entrance hall was also reorganized to focus on the Museum’s main mission of stressing the universality of Islamic Civilization and the major role it has played in the advancement of humanity in the various fields of human endeavor.
In addition to all that, several other modifications took place in the Museum. The display showcases were ameliorated, interactive computer stations were employed, and a specially designed tour for the blind was introduced. Some of the problems which were detected after the 2010 renovation project were also corrected. The top of the display showcases were closed as it was shown that their being opened was a direct cause of the damaged which befell their contents, not only from the explosion but due to the surrounding dust and ambient atmospheric conditions. The external windows of the Museum were replaced with a special type of glass that prevents the harmful sun rays from affecting the displayed artifacts. storage 16 also had to be completely renovated, as it had never been touched since the inauguration of the Museum in 1903.
Generally speaking, the Museum’s collection stands as a treasure trove for all the researchers and historians interested in the Islamic Civilization. Together with visitors from all walks of life, they will be capable of witnessing, first hand, what this civilization has managed to offer humanity in a diversity of fields. These achievements stand as solid proof of the degree of exquisite taste and perfect workmanship which were the hallmarks of the Muslim artisans. All this has rendered the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo a Mecca for visitors, whether they be kings, statesmen or regular individuals.