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Ancient Egypt: Real Mummies and Artifacts of the Dead

Now Open – See the Only Real Mummies and Shrunken Heads in San Diego

This amazing exhibit is available for no extra charge as part of general admission.

The culture of ancient Egypt holds a universal appeal and fascination for adults and children alike. The Museum of Man is fortunate to have one of the most important ancient Egyptian collections in the United States.

This is due to the rare gift of over 400 objects from the Egyptian Exploration Society and the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps in the 1920s and 1930s. These artifacts are from the ancient city of Amarna, where the Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti reigned, and the young King Tut spent his boyhood. This collection features hieroglyphic stone carvings, jewelry, pottery, amulets, and everyday objects, all documented by archaeologists.

The exhibition also includes the recent addition of the Smith collection of funerary objects, including coffin masks, figurines, and mummified falcons. Seven painted wooden coffins are currently on display. The most extraordinary of these is an extremely rare Ptolemaic child’s coffin—only six others are known to exist worldwide. Because of the expense of mummification, children were rarely mummified for the afterlife. This young girl's coffin is a cultural treasure reflecting the devotion ancient Egyptians had to their religious customs and beliefs.

Two authentic Egyptian mummies, on loan from the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, are also featured in the exhibition. CAT scans and x-rays on display provide an inside look at what can be learned from mummies without unwrapping or damaging their remains. Visit our exhibition to investigate the mystery of our headless mummy and to explore the glory of this great civilization.

Make sure to see our Egypt-themed kid's area, too!

*Please note: Several of our mummies and shrunken heads are currently off display in this gallery; however, the rare child sarcophagus, other mummies, and many beautiful artifacts are still on display throughout the gallery.

Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. 

Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. 

Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.  Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. 

Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man. Real mummies and authentic Ancient Egyptian artifacts at the San Diego Museum of Man.