Media for Visiter le Field Museum

Inside Ancient Egypt

Category: Exhibition

Exhibition Summary


Included with Basic admission

Targeted age groups

All ages


Anchor: #unwrap-the-mysteries-of-this-civilization-with-mummies-and-more

Unwrap the mysteries of this civilization with mummies and more.

Inside Ancient Egypt is an up-close look at the daily lives of ancient Egyptians—as well as how they thought about death.

Enter through a three-story replica of a mastaba, a type of ancient Egyptian tomb, that houses two authentic chamber rooms from the burial site of 5th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Unis’s son Unis-Ankh.

The burial chamber, which dates to 2400 BC, houses one of the largest collections of mummies in the United States: 23 human mummies and more than 30 animal mummies.

The exhibition also features a recreation of an ancient marketplace reconstructed from market scenes depicted on tomb walls. Filled with goods and people, the marketplace offers experiential learning through the everyday activities that occurred in this bustling cultural center.

Inside Ancient Egypt offers clues to ancient Egyptians’ lives on Earth—and to everything we may have in common with them.

Canopic jars were used to preserve the delicate organs removed from dead bodies during the mummification process.

The Egyptian mummification process took 70 days. This ancient Egyptian mummy was preserved in a plain cedar box, but its coffin has a painted face mask with gold details.

See objects that give us clues about how Ancient Egyptians lived.

Exhibition highlights:

  • Floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphs in the mastaba of Unis-Ankh
  • A 4,000-year-old royal boat that belonged to Pharaoh Senwosret III
  • Scenes from the Nile River Valley
  • A shrine to the cat-goddess Bastet

Dioramas show different parts of the mummification process.

Learn about the detailed process of mummification and burial rituals in ancient Egypt—inside authentic chamber rooms from a real tomb.

Mummification Process

Ancient Egyptians mummified the dead because they believed the soul lived within the body even after death, so they meticulously preserved bodies to keep the spirit in tact.

Along with the mummies and sarcophagi on display in Inside Ancient Egypt are dioramas that depict the 70-day process, an extensive ritual that required both spiritual and biological knowledge.

The process began by removing all internal organs that might decay rapidly—all but the heart, which was thought to house the soul. Using a salt called natron, embalmers dried out the body completely.

Then the body was wrapped in strips of linen. Sometimes embalmers would write prayers on the linen strips or include amulets within the wrappings to protect the dead along their journey.

After this delicate preservation process, the mummy was ready for the ceremonial burial that would usher its former host to the afterlife.

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