Ramesses II statue moving to U of M campus

(WMC-TV) - Monday, the statue of Ramesses II will be moved from the front of The Pyramid to its new home on the University of Memphis campus.

With cameras in their hands, residents like Kay Malone wanted to catch a final glimpse of the statue before it is relocated.

"I'm a retired school teacher and I like history and I'm glad we're saving it," said Malone.

Removing the statue is a delicate and tedious process that will begin at 8 a.m.  It is expected to take several hours to remove it from the base and secure the statue on a flatbed truck.

The statue will travel at about 30 miles per hour to the University of Memphis from its location on Front Street to I-240 North to Sam Cooper.  From there, it will head south on Highland Avenue to Central Avenue, where it will be installed on the university's campus between the theater and music buildings.

"Traffic inconvenience, it's still well worth it in terms of the tourists it will bring and the symbolism of what it stands for," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

The 25-foot, 5,000-pound statue of Ramesses II, who ruled Egypt more than 33 centuries ago, has stood at the entrance to The Pyramid since 1991.

With The Pyramid being converted to a Bass Pro Shops superstore, the statue had to be removed.  Memphis City Council voted to send it to the university.

The City of Memphis will lease the statue to the university for $1 annually for 99 years.

Some students agreed that the University of Memphis is the appropriate setting for the statue because of the attention it will bring to the school's Egyptology program.

"It's good exposure for the campus," said student Ricky Smith.

The statue should arrive at the University of Memphis late Monday afternoon.  A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday.

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