Last term Big Brother was learning all about the Egyptians at school. He’s finding Year 3 really interesting and I wanted to see if there was anything we could do to encourage him. I know we could have visited the British Museum but it’s always really busy at the weekend. Instead we planned a visit to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London, part of University College London Museums and Collections.
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London
After an exciting morning spent queuing for photos at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station we walked down to the Petrie Museum. It’s down a little alley way, very unassuming. We walked through a door and up some stairs to discover a very old-fashioned museum. The children were delighted to be handed an Activity backpack and off we went.
Their backpack included a magnifying glass and activity sheets to help them discover more about the collection. The Petrie Museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods to the Islamic period.
The museum was created in 1892 through the bequest of the writer Amelia Edwards who also founded the Department of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology at University College London. She donated her own collection to the museum, and the museum later bought the collection of the first Edwards Professor, William Flinders Petrie who excavated many important sites in Egypt. The export of antiquities from Egypt and the Sudan is now illegal and the collection is not added to.
The Museum is fascinating, if a little crazy and old-fashioned. We particularly liked the display which went down the stairs to the fire exit.
The children enjoyed following a trail and a very enthusiastic volunteer helped point out some of the most fascinating objects. When the children were tired they were able to sit down and do some colouring which was a nice break for them.
The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London is part of University College London Museums and Collections. It can be found at Malet Pl, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6BT. It’s free to visit but has unusual visiting hours so it’s best to check before making a special visit.