Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Travel back to Ancient Egypt and discover artifacts from thousands of years of Egyptian civilization including mummies, hieroglyphs and everyday objects.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has one of the largest collections of Ancient Egyptian antiquities in America. It is housed in a purpose-built, Egyptian-style building, with gardens and replica architecture.

The collection started out with just one statue, an artifact that belonged to H. Spencer Lewis, who founded an order of Rosicrucianism. Rosicrucians study the wisdom and teachings handed down from civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt. Lewis opened a public collection of Egyptian artifacts in 1927, and the museum today holds more than 4,000 objects.

Walk through the stunning grounds and enter the lobby, designed in the style of a temple, before making your way into the museum proper. The Burial Practices and Afterlife section is the most popular of the four permanent exhibit areas. Here you can examine human mummies as well as a mummified cat, gazelle and a selection of other animals. Explore the replica rock-cut tomb on a docent-led tour and see what a burial chamber looked like in the Middle Kingdom (2,030 — 1,640 B.C.)

Move on to the Kings and Pharaohs section for an insight into how Egyptian rulers maintained one of the world’s greatest and most advanced ancient civilizations. Learn how they established themselves as living deities and organized their courts and governments. Come face-to-face with sacred statues and other spiritual artifacts in the Gods and Religion gallery.

The last of the permanent exhibits focuses on the daily life and commerce of the Ancient Egyptians. Inspect household utensils, learn about beauty practices and discover the games enjoyed during the times of the pharaohs. The museum also hosts rotating exhibits and special events. Check the website for details.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is located in the center of San Jose, about 2.5 miles (four kilometers) from downtown. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday, except on major holidays. Free parking is available one block east of the museum. Buses and trains also stop nearby.