The Art Institute of Chicago – Egyptian Collection

Museum Overview

The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) was founded in 1879 as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In 1882 it changed its name to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was founded as both a museum and a school. The school has one of the top graduate programs in the country today and the museum now houses collections spanning 5,000 years of history and culture from across the globe. The AIC has been in its current location since 1893 and the building itself was built from rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire. The AIC houses more than 260,000 works of art which include a notable impressionist and post-impressionist collection, Old Master works, American art, Asian art, modern and contemporary art, decorative arts and more. Over the years many additions have been constructed in the form of auditoriums, new galleries and new buildings in order to keep up with the growing popularity of the museum.

Plan Your Trip

The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois in the city's Grant Park.

If you are looking for a Hotel Room near the Art Institute, visit Chicago Hotels. We recommend the Swiss Hotel Chicago, or for smaller budgets the Travelodge Chicago.

The museum is open Mondays to Wednesdays 10:30am to 5pm; Thursdays 10:30am to 8pm with free admission from 5pm-8pm; Fridays 10:30am to 5pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 5pm. The museum may offer extended hours for special exhibitions.

The Museum's Egyptian Collection

The Art Institute of Chicago house a permanent ancient art exhibition. This exhibition is a collection of artworks and artifacts from a number of ancient civilizations from around the world. It contains Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman artifacts. The Ancient Collection can be found on level one of the museum on one side of McKinlock Court. It is in Gallery 153-156. The Egyptian aspect of the Ancient Collection is concentrated in Gallery 154, in the center of the Ancient Collection and can be accessed from the rest of the Ancient exhibition.

The museum contains a variety of Egyptian works of art and artifacts that span many Dynasties. These provide a fascinating look at the world of Ancient Egypt – a world far removed from our modern world. The artifacts include beaded mummy decorations, decorative jars, the coffin and mummy of Paankhenamun, jewelry, statues, mummy head covers, panels, portraits, parts of hieroglyphic texts, vessels, wall fragments and parts of garments worn by the Ancient Egyptians.

One of the exciting aspects of the Egyptian collection is "Cleopatra." Cleopatra is an interactive touch screen program which focuses on the cultural and historical context of the Egyptian collection. Cleopatra uses maps, timelines and illustrated texts in order to increase the viewer's understanding of the background of the artifacts found in the Egyptian gallery of the museum. The program is bilingual and can be used in English and Spanish.

The coffin and mummy of Paankhenamun provide a fascinating look into the world of Ancient Egypt. The coffin presents painted scenes that identify the body within, hieroglyphic inscriptions and a beautifully crafted design. It is a captivating aspect of Egyptian history and is a popular part of the exhibition.

Gold Greco-Egyptian coins which were minted in Cyprus around 285-246 BC are on display. The many jars and vessels in the exhibition display engravings and artistic designs.

From January 29 to September 1, 2010, there is a special exhibition in Gallery 154 – the Egyptian section of the Ancient Collection on level one of the museum. The exhibition presents a series of letters and cables between Art Institute President, Charles L. Hutchinson and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, James Henry Breasted. These letters from 1919 present the history of the antiquities trade in Egypt at the time. The display also contains the "Statuette of a Jackal" from the Saite Period, Dynasty 26 (664-525 BC).

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