Tucked away on Malet Place behind an unassuming door and up a flight of stairs, this small archaeology museum is absolutely packed full of Egyptian artifacts. From sarcophagi to baboon shaped amulets to preserved leather shoes, myriad artifacts are crammed in these three rooms that spill out into an adjoining stairwell.
The majority of the artifacts held by the museum were collected by the founder of the museum, the eminent Victorian archaeologist and Egyptologist Flinders Petrie. In his long life, Petrie carried out many excavations in the region and made it his life’s mission to investigate, chronicle, and conserve the ancient historical sites of Egypt and the Near East. He was famous for his inexhaustible work ethic and stamina during archeological digs, and he continued to excavate ruins well into his 80s, by which point he had amassed a phenomenal knowledge of these civilizations.
Visitors are handed a flashlight upon entering since many of the glass cases holding the exhibits are stacked on top of each other, causing the bottom ones to be shrouded in darkness. Crouching in a quiet corner shining your flashlight over the darker areas of the museum really gives a genuine feeling of exploration and discovery that is seldom felt in the more crowded and well-lit museums.
Like the Grant Museum of Zoology just around the corner, the Petrie is available to students for research so some artifacts may come and go as they are checked out by UCL attendees.
Know Before You Go
Located on the University College London campus, off of Gower Street at Malet Place. Around the corner from the Grant Museum of Zoology. Map provided by the museum here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie/images/museummap.gif