Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

While looking for things to do on the weekend, I hit upon the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum in San Jose. Since I'm very fascinated by Egyptian history, I decided to check this place out.

This museum is located in San Jose and is the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Western North America.  There are four main galleries and they take the visitor through the ancient Egyptian dynasties up until the Islamic era. One can get a complete picture of the history, rise and fall of the mighty Egyptian empire. Since we visited post noon, we could only cover one gallery in detail. I glanced through the other three as it was nearing closing time.

The first gallery is the 'Daily life,  trade and neighbors' and it has a huge collection of items of daily use. This includes the vessels, toys, seals, hairpins, mirrors, perfume bottles, razors, seals etc. Tablets with Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform scripts were my favorite.

 The second gallery 'Burial practices, mummies and afterlife' had a lot of mummies on display and items relating to the burial practices and mummification. I skimmed through the next two galleries 'Gods and religion' and 'Kings and Pharoahs' so I'm not writing much about them.

There was a docent-led tour of the replica tomb. There is a composite replica of the rock cut tomb of Khnumhotep II. I found it very educational and fun.

Some fun facts that I learnt from the museum:
-The ancient Egyptians, including the children drank beer instead of water as they did not have access to clean water
-They believed in the power of visualization and hence got their walls of the pyramids painted with images of a life they wanted to live in the afterlife.
-The hierogylphic script was written from  left to right, right to left or up to down. One can identify the direction based on the direction in which the characters are facing.
-Men and women both used makeup and painted their face green.

I will have to visit the museum once again to complete the tour of the other three galleries. There is also a planetarium which is temporarily closed so we could not visit it. Outside the museum,there is a beautiful garden called the Peace garden where one can relax.

What: Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Where:1660 Park Avenue San Jose CA 95191
When: Wednesday - Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Monday - Tuesday: Closed 
Cost: $9