Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium in San Jose, California

By Ryan Traynor, age 11, Emerald Hills, CA

When my class at school announced a field trip to a museum, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then, they mentioned that it was to an Egyptian museum with 4 mummies, a Rosetta stone and obelisks! I was so excited that I counted the days until we left. I was not disappointed.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium is located in San Jose, California. The Museum is built like the Temple of Amon at Karnak. It contains the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts (over 4,000) on exhibit in western North America, including objects from pre-dynastic times through Egypt’s early Islamic era.

When we entered the front door, I knew this museum would be different. First of all, the outside was really cool with columns, obelisks and a garden. Then, as we entered the museum we saw a mummy case to our right, Egyptian statues all around us, and the stairs ahead foretold more adventures to come.

Burial Practices:

One area we visited covered the burial practices, afterlife and mummies of the Egyptians.

The Egyptians believed in a soul that lived on after death, called the Ka. Because of this they provided for the needs of the dead in the afterlife and believed that in return, they would be safe and prosperous. They buried the possessions of the dead with them and had elaborate burial practices, including the building of tombs by the rich and powerful and mummification.

A really cool thing about the museum is the tomb replica built inside the museum. There are many fascinating hieroglyphics inside the tomb. During the Tomb Tour, I found out that the livers, intestines, stomachs and lungs were put in canopic jars upon death. Wealthy people had their arms crossed and were the only people who could be mummified.

Gods and Religion:

Another area in the museum covered the Egyptian’s gods and religion.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped hundreds of gods and goddesses. I did not know that the Egyptian gods ate the spirit of the food that was offered to them.

Kings and Pharaohs:

We were also able to read about the various kings and pharaohs. The king of Egypt is also known as the pharaoh. The chairs in Egypt were low because nobody could be higher than the Pharaoh. Akhenaten made his statue’s features exaggerated to make him stand out more. I also found out that there are only seven Cleopatra VII statues in the world. We were able to see a model of the first pyramid built. I discovered that King Pepi the II was the youngest prince to be made king and his rule was so long that he ended up being the oldest king to rule. Inside this gallery you can see a mummy and a sarcophagus. The teeth in the mummy are still intact but are damaged from the bread that was eaten with sand in it.

The People:

Most ancient Egyptians were farmers or craftsmen. Some of them were scribes (the official writers) and a very small percentage of ancient Egyptians were nobles and royalty. In the Daily Life Gallery we saw many artifacts showing their everyday lives such as hair accessories, mirrors, perfume bottles and games.

I learned some interesting things in this gallery. For instance, there are two languages on the Rosetta stone. Also, the Babylonians used cylindrical cones to write proclamations by dipping them in ink and rolling them on paper. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Outdoor Gardens:

In the Outdoor Gardens we saw a really tall obelisk built in front of the Heb-Sed festival by Sennskets. The garden is modeled for the time period during the 18th dynasty. The garden is based off of examples from the city of Akhetaton.

The Planetarium:

The Planetarium has shows that change regularly. The current show is called The Mithraic Mysteries. Although we didn’t get to see the show on this trip, in the past I have been to the Planetarium and it was really educational and fun.

Summary:

I thought that the exhibits were informative and interesting and I learned a lot. For instance, I learned that the Nile river flows from the mountains in the south to the Mediterranean in the north. My favorite exhibit was the Tomb Tour because it had an unwrapped mummy and a tomb replica. They had a cool obelisk, a Rosetta stone replica, 3 mummies, and a model of the first pyramid ever built.

In conclusion, I think that the Rosicrucian Museum is fantastic and I would recommend it to everyone.