Walk Like an Egyptian: Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

We recently began our history cycle a new, focusing once again on Ancient Times. As the kids have narrated stories about what we’ve read about the ancient Egyptians, my husband recalled fondly his visit as a child to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.  I was thereby delighted when our visit to San Jose for the Piano Guys concert aligned with our history curriculum.

Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, religion, and art. At the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, kids can become Egyptologists as they explore the many exhibits, engage in the educational programing, and interact with the online resources.

Rosicrucian

The museum houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America — including objects from pre dynastic times through Egypt’s early Islamic era. There are more than 4,000 authentic ancient Egyptian artifacts in the museum’s collection. Several of the artifacts, however, are replicas and are labeled as such.

All total, there are four galleries and a replica tomb, architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak from the old kingdom. The kids particularly enjoyed our guided tour through this exhibit as they pretended to be real archeologists embarking on a new discovery.

The first gallery is the afterlife gallery with an impressive collection of mummies, coffins, and burial offerings. The four mummies on display are real. Mummies of animals are also on display.

The second gallery is filled with common household items that the Egyptians used. Most fascinating to me was the display on women’s cosmetics. The Kohl tube, hair accessories, mirrors, and perfume bottles tell us that the Egyptians were fastidious about their appearance.

  • Ancient Egyptian kohl, called mesedjmet, was eye-paint made from galena, a type of lead. Kohl was stored in tubes a dry powder. Shells were also used to hold powdered makeup.
  • Eyeshadow and eyeliner were made from ground malachite (copper ore). Malachite makeup, like galena, was applied with the end of a rounded stick dipped in water.
  • Cosmetics and writing ink were ground from minerals on small stone grinding palettes.

Though they vaguely remember playing Senet when we studied ancient history during our first cycle, the kids enjoyed seeing the display of toys, including a wooden Senet board and an array of game pieces.

The third gallery has images of kingship and the gods. The ancient Egyptians worshipped hundreds, if not thousands of gods and goddesses. In addition to the many familiar names, such as Isis and Osiris, small towns had their own patron deities.

The fourth and fifth galleries are dedicated to the pharaoh Akhenaten and the goddess Sekhmet.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum’s future looks promising. New exhibits, tours, and workshops are planned along with continued research and scholarship.

Discovering Ancient Egypt: Activities for Kids

After a couple of months of vacation we are back in the groove. It feels good to have a plan… a schedule. I like having an outline… a map to guide us along our journey.

Since we initially read about historical discoveries in The Story of the World: The Ancients, Sweetie has wanted to be an Archeologist. So she was delighted to start our studies again and is so immersed in Ancient Egypt, she wants to have an Ancient Egypt themed birthday party.

Ancient Egypt Activities

Reading & Narration

This morning, we read Chapter 4: The Old Kingdom of Egypt. After reading each section, I asked her to tell me what she could recall from the chapter. Right now, I play scribe and record her words on the back of the map work that accompanies the chapter. When she gets older and is more comfortable writing, she will do written narrations. Here is her oral narration of the the section on Egyptian Mummies:

“The Pharaoh Cheops died so they [the priests] took all his organs like brains, heart and stuff and washed them and put them in special jars with heads of goddesses. They then wrapped his body in linen. They saved him for 40 days. They then washed everything again, wrapped him in linen again, and put his body in a silver case. They put that case in a wooden one. Then they carried him across the street to the pyramid. Inside the pyramid was a special place called a burial chamber. They put food and a boat for him to use in the Afterlife. Later, he will discover his chamber is filled with treasure.”

Wonderful! She is so detailed (though a few minor errors – it was a gold coffin, not a silver one). We frequently practice doing narrations – for movies, recapping the days activities for Daddy at dinner time, of books I’ve read aloud at bedtime, etc. I hope her narrations continue to be as accurate when she begins writing them on her own.

Crafts

She loves crafts so she was delighted to create a Canopic Jar of her own. Using an empty creamer bottle for the base, she covered the bottle with paper maché. Once they were dry, she painted them to look like cats and other animals revered by ancient Egyptians.

She also added what she learned to her Book of Centuries notebook, pictured above beside her finished jar which she plans to exhibit it the county fair next week!