The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London is part of University College London Museums & Collections. The museum contains over 80,000 objects and ranks among some of the World's leading collections of Egyptian and Sudanese material. It ranks behind only the collections of the Cairo Museum, The British Museum and the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin in number and quality of items.
The collection is full of 'firsts': One of the earliest pieces of linen from Egypt (about 5000 BC); two lions from the temple of Min at Koptos, from the first group of monumental sculpture (about 3000 BC)(these are located in the main UCL building); a fragment from the first kinglist or calendar (about 2900 BC); the earliest example of metal from Egypt, the first worked iron beads; the earliest example of glazing; the earliest 'cylinder seal' in Egypt (about 3500 BC); the oldest wills on papyrus paper; the oldest gynaecological papyrus; the only veterinary papyrus from ancient Egypt; and the largest architectural drawing, showing a shrine (about 1300 BC).
Costume is another strength of the collection. In addition to the 'oldest dress' there is a unique beadnet dress of a dancer from the Pyramid Age (about 2400 BC), two long sleeved robes of the same date, a suit of armour from the palace of Memphis, as well as socks and sandals from the Roman period. The collection contains works of art from Akhenaten’s city at Amarna: colourful tiles, carvings and frescoes, from many other important Egyptian and Nubian settlements and burial sites. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Roman period mummy portraits (first to second centuries AD).
Visiting the Museum:
The Museum is located in Malet Place, near the UCL science library and Gower Street. There is a small gift shop. Some parts of the collection are not lit (for conservation reasons) and torches are supplied to see inside the cases. The museum is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday, 1-5pm, each week, and admission is free. Researchers are accommodated during the times when the museum is closed to the public.
The museum itself is split into three galleries. The third and last is accessed via and along a stairwell. The main gallery (housed above the old stables) contains many of the museum's small artifacts, as well as tablets of writing and mummy portraits and cases. The first gallery contains mainly pottery. The museum has a very active education programme for adults and families.
The Friends of the Petrie Museum:
The Museum has an active Friends organisation whose members enjoy lectures, museum seminars, tours to Egypt and Egyptian collections, social events, etc. The Friends raise funds towards the conservation, publication and display of the Petrie Museum's outstanding collection.