A 12-ton, monumental granite sphinx dominates the Lower Egyptian Gallery surrounded by elements from the best-preserved royal palace ever excavated in Egypt.

Built in the city of Memphis for the pharaoh Merenptah (circa 1224—1214 BCE), thirteenth son and eventual successor of Ramesses II

In time for the opening of the Amarna exhibition, Penn Museum’s renowned Egypt (Mummies) and Egypt (Sphinx) galleries, recently refurbished, will add updated informational panels and labels. The galleries offer visitors an opportunity to view a wide variety of ancient Egyptian artifacts from several millennia. Materials range from monumental architecture to sculptures, pottery, jewelry, tomb goods, and mummies.

With more than 42,000 items... the Penn Museum houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Nubian material in the United States. Assembled through nearly a century of archaeological research, this collection is unusual in that a majority of the objects were obtained through archaeological investigations in Egypt.

From 4000 BCE through 700 CE... the Predynastic Period through the Greco-Roman Period and into the Coptic Period, the collection spans ancient Egypt's entire history and includes a wide range of sites (provincial and royal cemeteries, palaces, temples, towns, sanctuaries, and settlements). It also includes a large number of material categories, such as architecture, statuary, minor arts, domestic artifacts, textiles, papyri, pottery, tools, jewelry, weapons, funerary objects, and human remains.

The artifacts comprising the Egyptian collection of the Penn Museum derive from a variety of sources. A major part of the collection, however, results from excavations sponsored by the Penn Museum in settlements and cemeteries in:

  • Nubia
  • Egypt's ancient capital city of Memphis (Mit-rahina)
  • Dendera
  • Giza
  • Dra abu el-Naga (near Thebes)
  • Meidum
  • and the major cult center of Abydos

Upper Egyptian Gallery and the Egyptian Mummy Exhibition
The Upper Egyptian Gallery is home to the Museum’s finest examples of Egyptian sculpture, spanning several millennia in Egypt’s long history. Highlights include two stone statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet from a Theban temple of Amenhotep III (ca. 1390-1353 BCE), and inlaid bronzes of the deities Osiris, primary god of the afterlife, and the warrior goddess Neith. An imposing seated statue of Ramesses II from the temple of Harsaphes sits in the center of the gallery. From this gallery, visitors may enter “The Egyptian Mummy: Secrets and Science,” a popular exhibition that offers an in-depth look at the ancient Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife, and features human and animal mummies, tomb artifacts, and objects and materials used in the mummification process.

Lower Egyptian Gallery
A twelve-ton, monumental granite sphinx dominates the Lower Egyptian Gallery, which houses one of the finest collections of Egyptian architecture on display in the United States. The sphinx is the largest in the United States and believed to be the third largest in the world. Surrounding the sphinx are the gateway, columns, doorways and windows from the best-preserved royal palace ever excavated in Egypt. The palace was built in the city of Memphis for the pharaoh Merenptah, thirteenth son and eventual successor of Ramesses II (ca. 1224-1214 BCE).

IBM Eternal Egypt Kiosk
New to the Museum is the IBM Eternal Egypt Kiosk, which provides the opportunity to explore and learn about Egypt's cultural heritage through a variety of interactive experiences. Visitors can enter virtual reconstructions of the Great Pyramids and Sphinx at the Giza Plateau as they appeared 2,000 years ago, move amongst the colonnades and imposing statues of the Luxor Temple, or explore Tutankhamun's tomb as it looked the day Howard Carter discovered the chamber in 1922. 3D rotations and easy-to-access information, available in 10 languages, provide context for artifacts in the virtual environments. The Eternal Egypt program is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Egyptian government and the IBM Community Relations Kiosk Solutions Program.

A Special Display at Penn Museum Library
The Napoleonic Expedition to Egypt
Engravings and Illustrations from Description de L'Egypt, 1809-1822

Complement your visit to Amarna with this new special display at Penn Museum Library featuring several impressive volumes selected from a rare set of Description de L'Egypt, 1809-1822 (The Napoleonic Expedition to Egypt). Click here to learn more-->

*Check out the Egyptomania page to visit our Online Exhibits!