Following a temporary closure due to the California Tower seismic retrofit, the Ancient Egypt exhibit is back open and has undergone a refresh! As part of the Museum’s first phase of decolonizing initiatives, the exhibit was updated with brand-new graphics, narrative language, and cultural resources. The exhibit explores the unique and complex peoples of ancient Egypt, with a focus on everyday life, the importance of animals and the land, life after death, and the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

The topics examined in the exhibit include:

  • Horizon of the Aten: Learn about the rule of pharaoh Akhenaten and his religious revolution.
  • Animals & the Land: This section explores the relationship between ancient Egyptians and the environment.
  • Life After Death: Learn about the importance of the afterlife to the ancient Egyptians.
  • Everyday Egyptians: Featuring items that reflect a diverse civilization, this section explores how the Egyptian ancestors worked to manifest an afterlife worthy of eternity.

The cultural resources within this exhibit date as far back as the 5000 BCE and range from serving bowls and makeup to funerary steles and protective amulets. 

Through our ongoing auditing process of our cultural resources holdings, we recognized that many of the cultural resources within our Museum were obtained through inequitable or colonial pathways. We are actively working to implement decolonial standards that reflect more ethical, equitable, and inclusive museum practices to do better today, and in the future. The updates made to this exhibit fall under the first phase of our decolonizing initiatives approach and guiding principles, which includes changing the content and objects in our exhibits and consulting with the descendant community on how to return, display, and/or care for these cultural resources per their wishes and cultural protocol. For more information on our decolonizing initiatives, please visit our Decolonizing Initiatives page

We hope you’ll visit soon to learn more about the unique and complex peoples of ancient Egypt. Learn more about the exhibit here.