For the past six weeks, I've been studying Egyptian history and art. And at the EM, I got to see many of the artifacts about which I've been learning. Room after glorious room of statues, stellas, hieroglyphs, and every day objects from the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Some things were prosaic: fish hooks, makeup applicators, and tax records. Some things were exotic: an assortment of embalming tools and embalming tables.
Several highlights: the King Tut death mask. Death masks are created so that after one dies, the disembodied part of a person -- the soul -- can find the mummified body to assist in its resurrection. Tut's death mask is so beautifully adorned that I doubt his soul had any difficulty finding his mummy.
Another high point was the Royal Mummy Room. I was especially moved by seeing the mummified body of Ramses II who died about 1250 BC. Some scholars believe that he was the pharaoh who expelled the Jews in the 13th century BC (part of the Exodus story). If that is true, then he is the only person from the Bible whose face you can still gaze upon. It is quite an experience to see the 3,000-year-old, devoutly-prepared body of one history's most powerful people — complete with teeth, hair, bones, and finger nails.