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Home > Museum > Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery

Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery

The Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery of the Oriental Institute opened to the public on May 29, 1999 following a three year renovation project. The 4000-square foot gallery displays approximately 800 objects dating from the Predynastic Period (ca. 5000 B.C.) to the Arab conquest (7th century A.D.). The installation of climate control systems to the museum enabled many fragile objects of cloth, wood, rush, and papyrus to be exhibited for the first time. The gallery space was designed by Vinci/Hamp Architects of Chicago. New cases, sheathed in limestone, were built by Kipley Construction of Chicago. The new casework features doors designed by Helmut Guenschel of Baltimore.

To compare the old installation to the new, go to the Oriental Institute Virtual Museum.


Colossal statue of king Tutankhamun excavated by the Oriental Institute at Medinet Habu in 1930. The seventeen-foot, four-inch-tall statue was relocated to the entrance of the new gallery where it can be viewed in the round. The statue is inscribed for Horemheb whose name was recut over that of King Aye. The statue is assigned to the reign of Tutankhamun on stylistic grounds, for it resembles other representations of that king.

Detail of a display on Egyptian chronology that exhibits the most characteristic objects from each time period. Shown here are artifacts from the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1070 B.C.) including pottery and a relief of Khaemtir, a vizier of king Amenmesse (ca. 1202 B.C.), and stelae, a canopic stopper and small objects from the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1970-664 B.C.).

Detail of a display on Egyptian chronology that exhibits the most characteristic objects from each time period. Shown here are objects from the Ptolemaic Period (332-30 B.C.) through the Byzantine era (to the 7th c century B.C.). An exhibit on kingship, dominated by a bust of King Neferhotep (ca. 1740 B.C.) is to the right.

Funerary beliefs are discussed in an exhibit of reliefs, canopic jars and a Roman-era mummy of a five year old boy. The funerary reliefs include a scene from the cenotaph of Min in Abydos (top center) of the early 18th Dynasty, two reliefs from the tomb of Montuemhet at Thebes (bottom center and lower right) dating to Dynasties 25-26 (ca. 525 B.C.), a fragment from the Sakkara tomb of Biw (upper right, Dynasty 6, ca. 2400 B.C.) incised with a warning to tomb robbers, and a stela showing Khunes before a table of offerings (left, Dynasty 12, ca. 1850 B.C.).

Beliefs concerning life after death are illustrated by a selection of objects from tombs. In the center is a relief showing three priests conducting the Opening of the Mouth ceremony on the mummy of a man named Ramose (on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago, Dynasty 19, ca. 1212 B.C.). To the left is a false door of the courtier Nyswredi (Dynasties 4-5, ca. 2500 B.C.) showing the spirit of the deceased stepping through the portal. This is positioned above an offering table from the reign of Ramesses III (Dynasty 20, ca. 1182 B.C.). A selection of ushebti figures accompany the reliefs.

View of exhibits of a group of tomb figurines from the tomb of Nykauinpu from Giza (Dynasty 5, ca. 2477). In the background is a case which contains objects that attest to popular religion and offering rituals.

Detail of the installation of funerary statuettes from the tomb of Nykauinpu from Giza (Dynasty 5, ca. 2477 B.C.).

Revised: June 18, 2010

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