Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

San Jose’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is a magnificent museum that is constructed in the architectural style favored by the ancient Egyptians to give you an immersion in their culture. It also houses the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the western United States. There is also a planetarium on the premises that has shows on the weekends. You shouldn’t visit San Jose without spending some time in Ancient Egypt. Looking like an Ancient Egyptian settlement, with a Moorish-style planetarium thrown in, Rosicrucian Park is on a whole city block in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood. The complex goes back to the 1920s and now has a temple for the Rosicrucian order, a Rosicrucian labyrinth, a research library, alchemy exhibit and alchemy garden.

But what pulls in more than 100,000 people a year is the Egyptian museum, in a building modeled on Karnak’s Temple of Amon. It holds the largest array of Ancient Egyptian artifacts in Western North America, starting in pre-dynastic times more than 5000 years ago and running to the start of the Islamic era. The museum has gathered some 4,000 pieces, and as you’d guess the mummies arouse the most fascination, but there’s also jewelery, sculpture, ritual objects, writing materials, toiletries, textiles, tools and vessels, and some absorbing pieces from Assyria and Babylonia. The founder of AMORC, Harvey Spencer Lewis, was a collector of various artifacts with mystical symbolism, some of them from the East. His very first artifact was a small Sekhmet statue. In 1921 he contributed financially to the archaeological excavations at Tel el Amarna (Akhetaten, the capital city of the 18th dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten) of the Egypt Explorations Society of Boston by receiving donations from AMORC members. In return, the Egypt Explorations Society donated several Egyptian antiquities to AMORC.

In 1928, he presented to the public a collection named “The Rosicrucian Egyptian Oriental Museum”, located at the administration buildings of AMORC at San Jose, California. Supposedly, the San Jose location was chosen because of the affordability of the land back then.[1] After Lewis’ tour in Egypt in 1929, AMORC received many more artifacts and donations, and as a result the collection grew significantly, with more than 2000 exhibits. The second Imperator of AMORC, Ralph Maxwell Lewis, son of H. Spencer Lewis, built new buildings for the museum, which opened in November 1966. By that time the museum was unique in: Having the largest exhibition of Ancient Egyptian antiquities in the Western US. Being the only such museum in the world with buildings constructed in Ancient Egyptian architectural style. Having a purpose-built planetarium adjacent to the museum, the fifth opened in the United States, and the first with a Star Projector built in the country, constructed by H. Spencer Lewis. Having its buildings set in an Egyptian Revival park. In 1995, Julie Scott, M.A., S.R.C., who is a practicing Rosicrucian, became director of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

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