The Greatest Treasure House on Earth. Visiting the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

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We’ve taken our kids to the best and most famous museums in the world, London, New York, Washington DC and a hundred smaller storehouses of knowledge, but nothing could ever beat Cairo’s spectacular Egyptian Museum. Chef and I visited Egypt almost 20 years ago and memories of our day at the museum are still vivid for both of us but now it’s the kids’ turn. On that day at the museum we were still strangers, a few days later we had met, our lives were entwined and we were on our way to being the family we are today, but that’s another story. What of visiting the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, today, in 2017, what’s it like, is it accessible, is it still amazing, how is security and how did we arrange it?


The Egyptian Museum, Cairo, in 2017

They have so many treasures here they don’t know what to do with them. The vast 100 year-old building and grounds are overflowing with artifacts and they’re all fascinating. Egypt’s latest discovery, a 9m statue of King Psammetich  I unearthed in a Cairo suburb just days ago, is already in residence at the front of the museum. This civilisation and culture was vast, its extent was mind blowing, new artifacts are constantly being discovered.

New Statue 2015 discovered Cairo Museum
A month ago this statue was under Cairo. 3000 years old, it’s just mind blowing. New statue outside the Egyptian Museum.

The big draw here, of course, are the items from the tomb of Tut Ankh Amoun. The boy king died age just 19 and was buried with incomprehensible amounts of treasure, most of which are on display. Think for a minute what items must have been lost to robbers from the other, greater Egyptian rulers. Ramses the Great ( Ramses II) was 91 when he died, what must have been in his tomb?

You will see his solid gold mask, decorated with turquoise, lapis and coral, also his gold mummy belt, cases and jewellery. These priceless items are in a separate room of the museum and no photography is allowed. You’ll just have to trust me that they take your breath away, or take a look at the video below, it’s for kids, but most of us could use a refresher. Update: We just got back from King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, seeing his body, removed from his coffins, was a bit too much. He was just a boy and you could see that, you can’t help but feel sad for this king who was married to his sister at just 10 years old and died 9 years later.

This exhibition sometimes goes on global tour, so check it’s in residence at the time you visit. We’ll be visiting King Tutankhamun’s Tomb in the Valley of the Kings and nearby, Howard Carter’s House in coming days. This is how we do ” school” and it’s so, so good!

King Tut Ankh Amoun Sandals
King Tut’s gold sandals, buried with the boy king for 3,000 years.

 

Homeschooling at the Egyptian museum
Homeschooling at the Egyptian museum. Now that’s what you call a field trip!

Do You Need a Guide?

Our feeling is yes, absolutely. This museum is everything a modern museum in the west isn’t, other than huge. It’s vast and you could easily spend a whole day here and not come close to seeing everything. Labelling of the exhibits isn’t so great and there is a general lack of signposting and maps.  To find the museums most incredible treasures, and often they aren’t the most spectacular, you need a guide. We were with a guide for both of our visits, with a small group holiday almost 20 years ago, and today as a family, both times our guides were invaluable, if, sometimes, a little less than factually accurate.

Tiny figure of Khufu or Chiops at the Egyptian Museum Cairo
This is the big man himself, Khufu or Cheops, creator of the Great Pyramid. This is the only remaining likeness of him and it’s about 5 cm tall.We would never have found it without a guide. When you think that Jesus was around 2000 years ago, double that time period and add another thousand, that’s how old this tiny ivory figure is. Yet this guy is responsible for the indescribably huge pyramid that is outside my window right now. It just blows my mind.

 

Queen Nefertiti at the Egyptian Museum
The only likeness of Nefertiti, Wife of Pharoah Akhenaten in the museum. Nefertiti and her husband  were worshippers of one god  Aten, the sun disc.

Smaller, less flashy items like the 2 above are some of the museums best treasures and almost impossible to find without a guide.

You can pick up a guide at the museum, we were told it costs 200LE, Our guide came with us from our hotel in Giza and also showed us around the Cairo Citadel for 300LE, roughly $15.

Admission Costs Cairo’s Egyptian Museum 2017

We’re finding all prices in Egypt to be good and there are always child discounts even for my big kids. Usually the child price is actually the student price, which is great to see.

Admission Price Adults: 80LE Approx $4.50

Admission Price Kids / Students 40LE Approx $2.25

There is an extra admission fee for the Royal Mummies exhibition, 100LE but there is now no extra charge for the King Tutankhamun exhibition.

How Long to Allow for Your Visit?

King Tut's mummy box
The outermost casing of King Tut’s mummy. The gold coffins are in the museum, no photos allowed

You could spend days here, like most museums, but allow 2-3 hours.

Is The Museum Good for Kids?

Mummies at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Just some of the mummies, adult, child, baby and animal, on display at the Cairo Museum. The Royal Mummies exhibit is separate and carries an additional admission charge.

Superb! Of course. But toddlers and preschoolers may get bored particularly if you take a tour aimed at adults.

How We Arranged Visiting the Egyptian Museum

We were visiting from our guest house and Cairo home in the shadow of the pyramids at Giza. We would highly recommend staying there, it’s been superb, but it puts the Cairo Museum about an hour away by car depending on traffic. We visited by taxi, picking up our guide near our hotel and returning with him, several hours later. He also took us to the Cairo Citadel, built by Saladin in the time of the Ottomans and inside that the magnificent Muhammed Ali Mosque. The Citadel perches on a hill overlooking Cairo, these hills were the quarries and source of the stones of Giza. In the times of Nile floods, tonnes of stone were floated from here to the pyramid construction sites on the other side of the Nile. I’m getting carried away with my Egyptian history, this post is supposed to be only about visiting the Cairo museum, the Citadel will have to have it’s own post soon.

We’re absolutely loving our time in Egypt, it’s been incredible so far and there is much, much more to come as we head south to Upper Egypt for Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel. Stay connected, don’t miss a thing by signing up for our newsletter below. We can all get an education together.

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Visiting the Egyptian Museum Cairo with kids



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