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Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-6500
 

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Ancient World

The Ancient Collections contain over 300 artifacts from sites around the world including the Middle East, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Central America, and South America. The largest part of the Ancient Collections consists of 227 Ancient Egyptian artifacts from carved wall fragments to kohl makeup pots. Some of the Museum’s most unique artifacts include two Egyptian mummy masks, an Akaddian (present-day Iraq) cuneiform tablet, Roman glass, and Peruvian textiles.

World travelers and private collectors purchased objects on their global journeys and donated many of the objects to the Children’s Museum between 1913 and 1966. Many of the artifacts are several thousands of years old and come from archaeological excavations. The artifacts range from religious, decorative, or everyday items from cultures including Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek, Akkadian, Aztec, Mayan, and Chimú (present-day Peru). Below you can explore some of the fascinating ancient artifacts here at Boston Children’s Museum.

A selection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts is currently exhibited in a window display on the third floor near Boston Black until December 2015.

Brittany Contratto is the Collections and Archives Graduate Intern for fall 2014. She is currently finishing her Master of the Arts in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University. While at Boston Children’s Museum, she focused on digitizing and rehousing the ancient artifacts and archiving the Museum’s institutional records.


Browse the collection:

 Fragment of Figure

Fragment of Figure



Mexico
Clay
NU7 26 G
Aztec Charm

Aztec Charm



Mexico
Stone
Donated by Mary Washington Ball, 1956
NU7 56-25A
Mayan Rattle, ca. 1000 AD

Mayan Rattle, ca. 1000 AD



Mexico
Clay
Donated by Jeptha Wade, 1966
NU7 66-4
Pottery Stamp, 500 BC – 500 AD

Pottery Stamp, 500 BC – 500 AD



Mexico
Clay
Donated by Miss. A.S. Pennfield, 1930
NU7 211-5
Coca Bag, 1200 – 1300 AD

Coca Bag, 1200 – 1300 AD



Excavated on San Lorenzo Island, Callao, Peru
Cotton
Donated by Miss Carrie Stone, 1956
SE 56-1

Coca bags held coca leaves which Peru’s indigenous people used as medicine.
 Miniature Tunic, 1100 – 1200 AD

Miniature Tunic, 1100 – 1200 AD



Peru
Cotton and Feathers
Donated by Norman B. Holmes, 1965
SE 65-7
Ancient Egyptian Amulets

Ancient Egyptian Amulets



Djed Pillar Amulet, after 600 BC
Egypt
Faience
MR5 1 B

A Djed Pillar Amulet was commonly placed on a mummy.

Bes Amulet
Egypt
Faience
Donated by Mr. William H. Young, 1957
2014.15.1

Ancient Egyptian women wore a Bes Amulet to protect them during childbirth.

Thoth Amulet
Egypt
Faience
Donated by Miss Mary Bowditch, 1961
MR5 319-S 1B

Bast Amulet
Egypt
Faience
Donated by Mrs. Melvin Thorner, 1956
MR5 56-14

Amulet with Two Birds
Egypt
Faience
Donated by Mr. William H. Young, 1957
MR5 57-4 D

Taweret Amulet
Egypt
Faience
Donated by Mr. William H. Young, 1957
MR5 57-4 B

Ancient Egyptian Wood Carvings

Ancient Egyptian Wood Carvings



Hawk Statue
Egypt
Wood, Gesso, and Paint
MR5 XX-17

Ba Bird, ca. 660 – 30 BC
Egypt
Wood, Paint, and Gesso
Donated by Miss Bertha Langmaid, 1948
MR5 353

Hawk Statue
Egypt
Wood, Gesso, and Paint
Donated by E.H. Bailey
MR5 48

Ptah-Sokar-Osiris
Egypt
Wood, Paint, and Gesso
Donated by the Cambridge Children's Museum, 1966
MR5 XX-41

Greek Lekythoi

Greek Lekythoi



Lekythos, 500 – 401 BC
Greece
Clay and Glaze
Donated by Mrs. John Dane, 1940.
EH5 55

This vase is originally from the Heimpel Collection Athens in 1902. The jar may have been used to store olive oil or perfume.

Lekythos, 500 – 401 BC
Greece
Clay and Glaze
Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Dows Dunham, 1961
EH5 XX-9

The jar may have been used to store olive oil or perfume.

Chimú Pottery

Chimú Pottery



Chimú Huaco Whistling Jar, 1200-1400
Peru
Clay
Donated by Mrs. William Kenyon, 1964
SE 65-1 S1

This jar has a bird figure at the top of the spout. When the jar is filled half way with water or when air is blown in the other spout, the jar makes the sound of a whistling bird!

Chimú Stirrup Jar, 1200-1400
Peru
Clay
Donated by Mrs. William Kenyon, 1964
SE 65-1 S2

Chimú Water Jug, 1200-1400
Peru
Clay
Donated by Mrs. William Kenyon, 1964
SE 65-1 S3

Chimú Animal Head Jug, 1200-1400
Peru
Clay
Donated by Mrs. William Kenyon, 1964
SE 65-1 S4

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