Ancient Egyptians were devoted to the idea of an afterlife. So, it’s symbolically appropriate that the National Museum of Natural History’s “Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt” exhibition has had two lives. You won’t think you’ve wandered into the British Museum, but the handful of iconic artifacts displayed might inspire a desire to visit London (or Cairo).
Backstory: The first part of “Eternal Life” went up April 5, 2011, with three cases of Egyptian artifacts focusing on burial rites, including a tutorial on the mummification process. It took until Nov. 17 for the rest of the permanent show to be birthed.
What’s New: Eight new cases illuminate the process in which Egyptians prepared their dead for the world beyond. There are mystical amulets, decorated masks, mummified animals and stunning sarcophagi.
Good to Know: Egyptians would prepare animals for the great beyond, in part, as offerings to the gods. But sacrifices became so rampant — hundreds of thousands of falcons and more than 1.5 million ibis birds have been found mummified — that some species became extinct.
Don’t Miss: One adult male and one child mummy are on view. But our bandaged brethren don’t look like anything out of Abbott and Costello.National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW; daily, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., free; 202-633-1000. (Smithsonian)