Americans Abroad
Open Door policy?

The Metropolitan's interest in Egyptian antiquity was fairly recent. It began collecting in 1886, but did not establish an Egyptian Department until 1906.(18) However, the American love affair with ancient Egypt began immediately after the French Revolution, when travelers first brought antiquities to England, and eventually to America.(19) By the 1830s and 40s, "Every self-respecting bookcase then contained at least one book on Egypt."(20) Americans were also inspired by Egyptian architecture, as the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond, completed in 1844 and designed by Thomas S. Stewart showed.(21) New York City's Halls of Justice and House of Detention--known as the "Tombs"--also reflected an Egyptian-style influence in 1838.(22) Egyptology became a university discipline in 1895 with James Henry Breasted's arrival at the University of Chicago.(23)

Complete Paper and Footnotes.

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 Travel ads in The New York Times, Jan. 6, 1924.


Typical tourist traveler.

Photo Source: Wonderful Things: The Discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976: xvii.



Visitors line up outside the tomb. Carter was constantly plagued by tourists trying to see the tomb, showing up unexpectedly.

Photo Source: Breasted, James Henry. "Some Experiences in the Tomb of Tutankhamon." Art and Archaeology XVII:1,2, Jan-Feb. 1924: 7.


From movies to blow-up pharaohs, Egypt is still alive in the commercial world to remind Americans of what they're missing in Egypt. This notepaper was bought at the Museum Company Store, which has connections to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Article: Ancient Egypt in America

Photo Sources at top: Carter, Howard. The Tomb of Tutankhamen Volume IINew York: George H. Doran Company, 1927: 97.

Buildings: Thomas, Nancy, ed. The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt. New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995.. New York : George H. Doran Company, 1927: 27.

Uncovering Tutankhamen I The Boy King I Buried Treasure I Metropolitan Connections I Cinematic Contributions I Stop the Presses I Literary Illusions I Fashion is King I Americans Abroad I Main