ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America

King Tut and Highlights of the Oriental Institute: A Chicago Family Day Trip

Updated on April 14, 2014

Exploring Ancient Cultures at the University of Chicago

The Oriental Institute packs more than 200,000 artifacts into a rather small museum located on the University of Chicago's campus. Founded in 1919, the museum focuses on the Near East, with items from digs in Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

We were able to view all the exhibits in about three hours, mainly because there were some cases that we simply walked past.

Admission is free, though donations are suggested.

All photos are by us unless otherwise stated. Pictured here is an idealized image from one of the mummy coffins in the collection. For more information on the mummy, see below.

Toys, Vases and Other Artifacts from Ancient Mesopotamia

The first room of the institute is dedicated to the smaller artifacts of Mesopotamia, an ancient area that was mainly based in modern-day Iraq with parts in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Kuwait. The area was home to ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, among others.

There is case after case of vessels, vases, small statues, toys, tablets and more, and if you wanted to look at every single item you would be in this room for a long time.

I did like the clay pull-toy from 2350 B.C.-2150 B.C. Also cool were the bearded worshipers from 2700 B.C.-2600 B.C. (see photo) and the libation vessel in the form of a bird from 3100 B.C.-3000 B.C.

Oriental Institute Chicago
Oriental Institute Chicago

The Assyrian Empire and the Khorsabad Court

One of the best rooms in the institute is dedicated to Assyrian artifacts, including two large reliefs from King Sargon II's throne room in Khorsabad (in modern-day Iraq).

The large statue of a Lamassu, a human-headed winged bull, was discovered in 1929. Unfortunately, when it was found it had been broken into pieces. But they were reassembled and the statue now stands at 16 feet and weighs 40 tons. It's huge and takes up almost one complete side of the room, which is a recreation of the throne room.

Other carved reliefs are nearby, including the striding lion from Babylon (604 B.C.-562 B.C.) shown here.

Persia's Large Statues and Other Artifacts

The Persian gallery is highlighted by large statues including the colossal head shown here. Made of grey limestone, it was found in Iran and dates from 486 B.C.-424 B.C.

There are also pottery and metalwork pieces from the empires that existed in ancient Iran.

Take time to look at the photos of the excavation digs from 1929. They really reflect just how difficult it must have been on some of these digs in primitive conditions.

The Colossal Statue of King Tut Looms Over All

King Tut Oriental Institute Chicago
King Tut Oriental Institute Chicago

The highlight of the museum for me was this huge statue of King Tutankhamun, which rises almost to the ceiling. It weighs an amazing 56 tons!

It is actually one of a pair, with the second statue in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Neither statue was found in perfect condition, with the institute's one in worse shape. Still it is impressive.

Nearby is a section on the early Israelites that includes a very tiny fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are the 972 texts discovered in the West Bank between 1946 and 1956. The case that held the fragment is set up so photos are awkward and really can't be taken -- maybe to help protect the fragment.

Mummy Oriental Institute Chicago
Mummy Oriental Institute Chicago

The Institute's Collection of Egyptian Mummies

The coffin here is of Meresamun, a female musician from sometime between 915 B.C.-715 B.C. She was a priestess that worked in the temple of Amun. Obtained in 1920, the coffin has never been opened so the mummy is still inside. A close-up of the coffin's face can be seen in this article's introduction.

There are more mummies to look at, including one of a young boy from the first-second century A.D. that is worth checking out. Behind the young mummy are several canopic jars that are also worth seeing.

Lectures at the Oriental Institute

Oriental Institute Chicago
Oriental Institute Chicago

Have You Been to the Oriental Institute?

See results

The Best Tour Book We Used When We Were in Chicago

More Things to See and Do in Chicago

Top Things to Do in Chicago: Highlights of a Family Vacation
We recently spent a seven- day vacation in Chicago, the third- most populous city in the United States. Chicago had plenty to see and do for our entire four- person family, with each of us getting to choose some attraction. There was great art and architec...

Highlights of Chicago's Art Institute: A Family Day Trip
The Art Institute is one of the truly must- see attractions for any visitor to Chicago. World- renowned for its Impressionist, Post- Impressionist, and American paintings, the institute says it contains about 300,000 artifacts and pieces of art spanning mo...

Highlights of the Museum of Science & Industry: A Chicago Family Day Trip
The Museum of Science & Industry on the south side of Chicago is a wonderful place to spend a day for the entire family. The largest science museum in the western hemisphere, it has more than 2,000 things to see or do spread out over 75 halls. Original...

Book Your Room Today

We have used Hotels.com to book our recent vacations, and haven't had a problem yet. You do have to spend a bit of time reading the reviews to make sure the hotel you select is exactly what you want, of course. Sometimes a good price just means that the hotel has had a lot of poor reviews and has dropped what it charges to attract customers!

One other bit of good news is that you get a free night's stay after booking 10 nights. The freebie has to be on a subsequent trip, but it has helped us save money. Check out Hotels.com today:

More Travel Reviews

Gettysburg, Thomas Edison's Lab and the Frick Collection! - Reviews of Pennsylvania/New Jersey/New York Sights to See!

Gettysburg Battlefield Museum: A Pennsylvania Family Day Trip
The Gettysburg Visitor Center and Museum, located in the Gettysburg National Military Park, is the best place to start any visit to the Civil War battlefield...

Thomas Edison House Glenmont: A New Jersey Family Day Trip!
Thomas Edison, one of America's greatest inventors, lived for more than four decades in a 29-room mansion called Glenmont in the exclusive Llewellyn Park nei...

Thomas Edison's Laboratory: A New Jersey Family Day Trip!
The Thomas Edison laboratory in New Jersey is a great family day trip. Edison was the inventor of the first practical electric bulb, the motion picture camer...

Highlights of the Frick Collection in New York City
The Frick Collection is an art museum in Manhattan's Upper East Side, and is world-famous for its collection of Old Master paintings. Included in the collect...

Ford's Theatre, National Portrait Gallery and the National Zoo! - Reviews of Places to Visit in Washington D.C.

Highlights of The National Zoo: A Washington D.C. Family Day Trip
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is a great place to take the kids when they need a break from all the monuments...

Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are located in the same building, and are officially called the Donald W. Reynolds Cent...

Highlights of the Library of Congress: Thomas Jefferson, Bob Hope and the Gutenberg Bible!
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, photographs, maps and other items in its collection. The Thomas Jefferso...

Renoir and Highlights of the Phillips Collection: A Washington D.C. Family Day Trip
The Phillips Collection opened in 1921 as America's first museum of modern art, and it is still considered one of the premiere places to see such masterpiece...

Highlights of the National Museum of American History: A Washington D.C. Family Day Trip
The National Museum of American History in the heart of Washington D.C. is one of those places that can really capture the attention of every member of the f...

Ford's Theatre, Where Lincoln Was Assassinated: A Washington D.C. Family Day Trip
Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. was the scene of America's greatest tragedy. On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln, having successfully guided the c...

Highlights of the National Gallery of Art: A Washington Family Day Trip
The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and is a great change of pace from the many museums that are nearby. The pain...

Fort McHenry and Geppi's Entertainment Museum! - Baltimore-Area Places to Visit!

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore: A Tourist's Guide to Comic Book Heaven!
Geppi's Entertainment Museum is located in Baltimore and is dedicated to all sorts of American pop culture: comic books, television, radio, movies, magazines...

Highlights of Fort McHenry, Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is a great place to visit, full of inspiring history, lovely grounds and cool views. It's also a place to ...

Moon Baltimore Book Review: A Great Little Tourist Guide!
We used this guidebook for a long weekend in Baltimore, and never felt the need to consult any other tour books or seek out more information from the Baltimo...

Nova Scotia, Land of Whale Watching and Outdoor Beauty! - Articles to Help You Plan a Visit to the Province in Canada!

Things to Do in Nova Scotia: Highlights of Our Family Vacation
Nova Scotia offered our family a good mix of what we seek when we go away on vacation. There's beautiful scenery to hike through, historical and cultural sit...

Top Five Travel Tips For Tourists Going to Nova Scotia
Our family recently visited Nova Scotia, which a wonderful place that has a wide variety of things to do for everyone. We wrote an online diary of the trip, ...

Of Family Vacations and Comic Books

Who Are Goldenrulecomics?

For more about who we are and what we write about please see here:

Of Comic Books and Family Vacations: Who is GoldenRuleComics?
Who is GoldenRuleComics? Actually, the better question is who ARE GoldenRuleComics! I am the father of a teenage daughter, and we live in New Jersey. I hand...

I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as we enjoyed our travels and writing it. Now it's your turn!

Thanks for visiting!

Now It's Your Turn!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 3 years ago

      I did not know this museum existed and so thank you for making me aware of it. I love anything that has to do with Egyptology. I think it is fascinating. Love the photos.

    • michaelangelo1 profile image

      michaelangelo1 3 years ago

      This is very impressive and really interesting lens and you might want to check this too: 5 Tips How to Make Money by Doing What You Love