I won’t kid you around – turning 40 is hard. I could delight you with all sorts of thoughts about life and death, and getting old, and what I have and have not accomplished – but really, that would be pathetic for me and boring for you. So let’s, instead, stay on topic. What I had wanted to do for my 40th birthday was to go back to Egypt. What I ended up doing (thanks economy!) was going to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose. Perhaps it’s just as well.
I thought about going to the Rosicrucian not just to relive old times. Just last year I regaled myself by seeing the Egyptian collection of the antiquities museum in Berlin (which includes the bust of Nefertiti, which I think surpasses in beauty and perfection anything the Greeks or their students might have produced), and two years before that, I spent a day with the Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum. If anything – I’m museumed-out.
But, alas, Mika is not – or was not. She’s been reading Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, the second in the Theodosia series, and has been expressing a strong interest in visiting the British Museum. After all, Theodosia, a precocious (aren’t they always precocious?) little girl with an uncanny ability to sense ancient Egyptian curses, spends a lot of time at the museum where her Egyptologist parents work. It’s not that British Museum, but close enough. Alas, I can’t really take Mika to the British Museum (and after our experience at the Rosicrucian I wouldn’t want to), but the Rosicrucian seemed like a good alternative. It was, to a limited extent.
I hadn’t been to the Rosicrucian in 20 years and I was very impressed by the new building complex. It’s all done in ancient-Egyptian style, and yet it manages to be quite nice rather than incredibly tacky (I had a professor who claimed that one of the best things that happened to Egyptian antiquities was that the over the millenia the paint had peeled away). The gardens are very relaxing, there is an abundance of papyrus (maybe we should grow some) and semi-hidden places where to sit and relax. There is a middle school across the street, so I imagine it’s not that peaceful during the week – but on the (rainy) weekend, it was very calmed.
Inside, the museum looks like just every other museum. They have several modern exhibition rooms, with well lit cases and an abundance of objects. Probably the most interesting one was the mummy of a child – though Mika found it sort of disgusting. She liked seeing the sarcophagi (I think she liked recognizing them as such), and had fun browsing around, but all she could take was 1 1/2 galleries before she was egypted-out. The most fun part was probably the full-size-model of a tomb that they have. Kids always like going and exploring. It didn’t remind me of any tomb I’ve been to, but it was fun. In reality, my biggest frustration is that Mika lost interest in my explanations of what we were seeing, very quickly 🙁
In addition to the museum, the Rosicrucian has a “planetarium” where they have shows a couple of times a day. The current show in on the Mithraic mysteries, and I found it fascinating. I know absolutely nothing about Mithras, and while I gathered that the information they were presenting might be of greater than academic interest to the Rosicrucians, it was definitely interesting. Alas, the 40 minute show is not, in any way whatsoever, oriented towards children, and mine only lasted about 10 minutes before they were ready to go. Indeed, what I’d say, is that if you actually want to take advantage of the whole place, you should leave your (little) children at home.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium
1664 Park Ave
San Jose, CA 95191
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
$9.00 general admission*
$7.00 seniors 55 and older and students with I.D.
$5.00 children ages 5 – 10
free children under 5
* $1.00 discount on general admission for members of AAA, AAM, KQED, and Military
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