Choose Between Two Options
- $35 for a one-year family museum membership, with two membership cards and access for up to four people (up to a $75 value)
- $25 for a one-year individual museum membership, with one membership card and access for two people (up to a $50 value)
Members receive benefits such as invitations to exhibit openings, library privileges in the research archives, free audio tours, up to 20% off education and family programs, a 10% gift-shop discount and twice-yearly annual discounts. All museum visitors receive free admission, with a suggested donation.
The Oriental Institute
From a 17-foot-tall statue of King Tutankhamun to a 40-ton sculpture of a human-headed winged bull that once stood in the palace of an Assyrian king, The Oriental Institute Museum houses the many-splendored wonders of ancient Middle East. The treasures–which also include jewelry, mummies, and some of the earliest written documents in the world–represent the life's work of the University of Chicago's archaeologists, the real-life Indiana Joneses who bring the past to life through their excavations and research. Guided tours help visitors explore the galleries, and special programs introduce students to hands-on archaeological experiences such as simulated digs and artifact analysis.
Exhibits spanning the history of 5,000 years fill galleries such as the Mesopotamian Gallery, where more than 1,000 objects lurk beneath the glass of custom-designed walnut cases. Graphic displays describe pottery, clay tablets, and metal jewelry from one of the world's first urban civilizations, all of which surround centerpieces such as the Code of Hammurabi. The museum's East Wing Galleries explore cultures of ancient Assyria, Anatolia, and Israel through artifacts such as a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, carved reliefs from an Assyrian palace, and Bronze Age tools, weapons, and figurines. In the Egyptian Gallery, limestone-lined cabinets house 800 objects such as carvings, canopic jars, a child mummy, and the bust of King Neferhotep.
In addition to tending to the permanent collection, the staff also assembles special events such as archaeology workshops, lectures, and screenings of films set in the ancient Middle East that let visitors delve deeper into the past. The museum also hosts enthralling temporary exhibits; on now though January 4, 2015, "In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East" shows how the living cared for the dead and how the ancients conceptualized the idea of the human soul in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Levant.