Anubis, an Ancient Egyptian god
© Wellcome Collection
The Ancient Egyptians have fascinated us Brits since the first mummy arrived at the British Museum in 1756. Since then museums around the UK have collected art and artefacts from this ancient civilisation, so you’re bound to find some near you.
Here are ten of our favourites…
First stop for any budding Egyptologist should be London’s British Museum, which has the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world outside of Egypt. You can see a stunning selection of mummies, coffins and canopic jars, along with colossal statues like the bust of Ramesses II (in our picture) and head of Amenhotep III.© Trustees of the British MuseumThey also have the world famous Rosetta Stone, which paved the way for understanding hieroglyphs.
Just around the corner from the British Museum is the Petrie Museum which has 80,000 objects from Ancient Egypt.
The Petrie Museum is full of 'firsts'.
It has one of the earliest pieces of linen from Egypt; a fragment from the first ‘kinglist’ or calendar; the earliest example of metal and the first worked iron beads; the earliest example of glazing; the oldest wills on papyrus paper, and the only veterinary papyrus from Ancient Egypt.
The Petrie Museum also has what could be the oldest surviving dress in the world!
The Ashmolean in Oxford holds several mummies, a fine double-sided mummy portrait, a hippopotamus statuette and the mysterious ‘Scorpion King’ mace head.
Did a ‘King Scorpion’ ever exist? It is a mystery that has confounded experts for years.
The Manchester Museum has an Egyptian statue that mysteriously started spinning one day. At first, even the experts were stumped. Lots of people were saying that the statue was haunted, but the curators took a scientific approach to explain this phenomenon. They examined the statue to find out what was making it spin.
National Museum of Scotland
This amazing museum in Edinburgh, not only has coffins and mummies galore but a wealth of other treasures too, including statues, poems, toys and a 4,000-year-old golden fish pendant - a ‘magical’ charm to protect a child from drowning.
Every object in the collection tells a story or opens a mystery. Who were the young woman and child buried with magnificent gold and luxurious finery in about 1550 BC? Evidence suggests the woman may have been a queen, if so this is the only complete Ancient Egyptian royal burial to be seen anywhere outside Cairo. Buried with beautiful jewellery and pottery, even the bread and fruit for their journey to the afterlife has survived over the ages in the dust of the desert.
You can explore more of Ancient Egypt on the National Museum of Scotland’s website.
The Egypt Centre in Swansea has over 5000 items, covering all aspects of ancient Egyptian life and ritual, from pages of books of the dead to coffins and even ancient earplugs – metal discs with grooved edges worn in a hole in the earlobe.
The Ulster Museum has a great Egyptian collection, including the mummy of an Egyptian aristocrat, Lady Takabuti. You can watch a curator from the Ulster Museum talk about her in this film from the museum.
Like the Ashmolean Museum and the Petrie Museum above, Durham’s Oriental Museum is part of a university, which means that its objects are used to help the students with their studies. If you’re interested, you can discover how the Oriental Museum has grown on its website.
The Oriental Museum has over 6,500 Egyptian objects in its collection; our favourites are these funky frog amulets.
New Walk Museum
Leicester’s New Walk Museum’s Egyptian gallery explores what Life and Death were like in Ancient Egypt, so as well as mummies you can also learn about things like Egyptian make-up and even see a model bakery!
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
This elegant museum down the road from the Show Me office in Brighton has two small but perfectly formed Ancient Egyptian galleries packed with treasures.
One of the coffin cases has the only known Ancient Egyptian painting of a three-headed god. See if you can spot it if you visit, and look out for the embalmed kitten too!
- The Ancient Egyptians have fascinated us Brits since the first mummy arrived at the British Museum in 1756. Since then museums around the UK have collected art and artefacts from this ancient civilisation, so you’re bound to find some near you.