Architecture and Artifacts
19.04.2013 - 19.04.2013 87 °F
Today we drove up to San Jose to visit the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. I am a little ashamed to admit that the last few days I'd been wondering why on earth I had wanted to see this. I'd visited it as a kid growing up in San Jose, but of course don't remember many details. However, as soon we drove by the main entrance I was hooked. We found a good spot in the parking area out back and first checked out the gardens. I hadn't remembered those, but they were very nice!
The statement on an information card says "The Rosicrucian Order is a worldwide philosophical and initiatic tradition that offers time-tested techniques for strength, and inner peace that already reside within each of us."
The Rosicrucian Order has been collecting artifacts for an Egyptian Museum since the early 1900's, but the fantistic building it is housed in was built in the 1960's. It now houses the largest collection of artifacts on exhibit in western North America. It is the only collection housed in a building authentic to the ancient Egypt in style. It has over 4,000 artifacts, as well as a collection of replicas and scale models used in the educational programs.
We spent some time in the Peace Garden, but my pictures were overexposed since again, I haven't bothered to read the manual for my camera. Next to the Peace Garden was a beautiful but small, open air temple.
We walked along the side of the museum where there were impressive columns and a lovely fountain. There are also a number of stylistic statues around the buildings, just as there were in ancient Egypt.
There was also a large scale game for Senet, a game very popular in ancient Egypt, plus a sign with rules for how to play it.
Then you get to the main entrance!
The entry rates are quite reasonable. In addition they have lifts at each stairway for Mom (Caution: You can take as many pictures as you like inside the Museum, but no Flash Photography, so while my camera is pretty good, some of my shots are less clear than I'd like - not using a tripod as I should have...)
Inside, in addition to 4,000 ancient Egyptian Artifacts, are a number of paintings, dioramas, and reproductions of artifacts since one of the missions of the museum is education. The reproductions are very clearly identified (they have green information cards, actual artifacts have white cards). This painting is a little dark, but illustrates the quality of the exhibits (this painting was about 6' across).
The museum exhibits are divided into different sections. The first room covers the afterlife. In addition to lots of other artifacts and coffins are a couple of real mummies.
This coffin belonged to Disure, an 18th Dynasty Priest and Scribe. The mummy is missing however.
This is an actual mummy of an upper class egyptian male, probably from the new kingdom (1549-1064 BCE). It's hard to tell from a picture, but the person was fairly short compared to modern people (with all our nutrition, excess food, etc.) He also had naturally red hair, which I find interesting.
This is a reproduction of King Tutankhamun's inner coffin, one of the excellant reproductions at the museum. Since they are clearly marked and very accurate, it didn't bother me that the Museum includes reproductions. Otherwise one would have to travel far and wide to get as comprehensive a view of ancient Egypt.
These are a very poor pic's (no flash photography), but as this is the only full size reproduction of a rock cut tomb that I know of, it is worth including. This is the entrance, a view from inside the first tunnel, (then there is a narrow staircase I don't have a pic of) and the burial chamber below. The wall paintings in the burial chamber are accurate reproductions as well.
Another room/exhibit hall illustrated day to day life, then there was one of kings & royalty. I thought this was an interesting take on how the famous bust of Nefertiti was created by the artist, Thutmosis. They also have a very nice reproduction of the bust itself, which should suffice unless you can also afford the trip to Berlin where the actual artifact resides.
There were also a few scale models of places in Egypt (and artists renditions of how a few ancient places may have looked).
And a few small dioramas, showing day to day life.
We probably could have spent several days here, but a couple of hours is about all Mom could handle (and all the time we'd allocated), so I bought a book detailing the catalogue of artifacts (and informative descriptions...) and we moved on. We had a 4 PM meeting scheduled with some relatives in Cupertino, so had some time to kill. Mom wasn't particularly interested in driving around where we used to live in San Jose and her old haunts, but she had seen an interesting looking diner as we were leaving Gilroy so I decided to drive back down there for lunch. (The story is worse then this, I thought I'd have time to drive all the way to Salinas to visit the John Steinbeck Center, but didn't take into account how long we'd spend at the restaurant and misjudged how far it was to Salinas), so we wasted a lot of time driving, then turning around and driving back.) In the meantime, we ate at the Black Bear Diner - which was cute and had pretty good food (way too much).
We eventually did head back up to Cupertino to my father's cousin's house and had a lovely visit with Larry and Joan and some of their family. Mom had never really known them so may have gotten some bad information from Granddad, and was glad to actually meet them and find out what nice people they are! So we had a great visit, came back with some lovely lemon's from their tree, and got ready for the next leg of our trip.