2. Museums Competed to House the Temple in the “Dendur Derby”

A front facing view looking into the Temple of Dendur

After the temple was gifted, next came the problem of figuring out where to put it. Several institutions across the country made bids for the temple in a competition that came to be known as the “Dendur Derby.” Two museums that put their names in were located in Cairo, Illinois, and Memphis, Tennessee. But their Egyptian city names did not weigh heavily on the deciding committee and they ultimately lost.

There were also alternative plans to re-erect the temple on the banks of the Potomac outside of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. or by the Charles River near the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Those plans were scrapped for fear that the temple’s sandstone would deteriorate from weather conditions. On April 27th, 1967, the temple was awarded to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City by President Lyndon B. Johnson.