Kids, Mummies and the World’s Best Museums for Egyptian Art
The world’s best museums pique our curiosity as they display ancient objects that let us peer into the past. At the age of ten I visited the British Museum with my father and so began my love affair with mummies and Ancient Egypt. As many parents have discovered, both boys and girls are fascinated with mummies, and these exhibits offer a great way to introduce children to the museum experience.
Following is my personal list of the world’s six best museums for Egyptian Art plus four more great museums that are closer to home and that feature mummies and world class Egyptian exhibits.
The World’s Six Best Museums for Egyptian Art
1. Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
The Pharaohs and their legends live eternally in Egypt. At Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, you will be amazed by the beauty of Tutankhamen’s golden funeral mask. However, it is but one item amid an exquisite treasure trove.
Here you can gain an understanding of the myriad of dynastic lines. Indeed, you will see the mummies of many of Egypt’s kings and queens and the objects that they took with them for their journey through the Underworld. By starting an Egyptian tour here, you can better put into perspective the pyramids and temples that you will visit elsewhere in the country. I recommend staying close to the museum at Ramses Hilton.
2. British Museum, London, United Kingdom
The wealth and power of the British Empire over several centuries ensured that the British Museum’s collections have few equals. Their Egyptian galleries are second only to Cairo in the size and breadth of the exhibits. Kids of all ages will still be intrigued and admission is free for those under 16.
While there, seek out the 7.25 ton statue of Ramesses the Great. Then look for the Rosetta Stone and discover how modern archaeologists first unlocked the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics. For convenient access and friendly staff, try staying at Hilton London Euston.
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, United States
In New York, you can not only view over 26,000 Egyptian artifacts but you can actually explore an ancient tomb and a temple dedicated to Isis. The Mastaba Tomb of Perneb, a high ranking courtier, is reconstructed. Enter the tomb (ca. 2381-2323 BC) and examine the wall decorations that show life renewing rituals.
While Perneb is intimate, The Temple of Dendur is grand. Set before a reflecting pool and bathed in light, this ca. 15 BC temple was saved from the rising waters behind the Aswan High Dam and given by Egypt to the United States. If visiting, stay at New York Hilton Midtown, a long-time favorite of mine.
4. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Louvre has a balanced Egyptian collection that covers all periods from approximately 4000 BC. You will view huge sarcophagi, colorful papyrus scrolls and small amulets. A particularly beautiful piece is the small statue of Akhenaton and Nefertiti, which shows the Pharaoh and his Queen walking hand in hand. Children under 18 are free. Hilton Paris La Defense has good metro access to the top Parisian sights, including the Louvre.
5. Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Berlin, Germany
In 1828 the Prussian Kings began what is now one of the world’s most important Egyptian collections. The colorful bust of Queen Nefertiti is the most famous single piece. Hilton Berlin is a reliable choice for accommodation.
6. Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy
The museum, founded in 1824, is solely dedicated to Egyptian art and culture. The Tomb of Kha was found intact in 1906 and Turin displays the 506 objects found within the tomb. The Statuary Gallery is filled with sphinxes, huge stone statues and sarcophagi.
Closer to Home: Four More Great Museums with World Class Egyptian Exhibits
The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
A 17’4” statue of King Tutankhamun stands at the Egyptian gallery entrance. Over 800 objects are displayed dating from 5000 BC to 700 AD. There are both human and animal mummies. Palmer House is located relatively close to the museum.
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA
The Egyptian Mummy exhibit features the science of mummification and the religious purpose behind the process. See both human and animal mummies plus the objects that were buried with them. The Inn at Penn is in the vicinity.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Art of the Ancient World collections features a wide range of Egyptian objects, many excavated between 1905 and 1942. Look for the sarcophagus of Queen Hatshepsut and examine several of the exquisite, small statues. Try staying at Hilton Boston Back Bay.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON
Canada’s largest museum of world culture and natural history was renovated in 2007 with a striking Daniel Libeskind designed addition called the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. It has many noteworthy and diverse exhibits including dinosaurs, a bat cave and Chinese architecture. The 25,000 artifact Egyptian collection, including the Mummies, is a perennial family favorite. It provides a well presented and encyclopedic overview of the civilization. Hilton Toronto is an easy walk to the museum.
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Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!