Press Release

Egyptian Revival: An Everlasting Allure



CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport


Egyptian Revival: An Everlasting Allure
New exhibition features Egyptian-inspired objects from nineteenth-century mantel clocks to ornate Victorian table stands and Art Deco beaded purses

SAN FRANCISCO –- Egyptian culture first enchanted the West when Cleopatra captured the hearts of legendary Romans Julius Caesar and later Mark Antony more than two thousand years ago. Centuries later, Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign (1798–1801) ignited an inextinguishable fascination with ancient Egypt. Numerous scholars and artists accompanied Napoleon during his expedition to record the sights and discoveries of this mystifying land. A number of other significant events contributed to the West’s fascination with Egypt, particularly in the early 1800s and again in the later part of the century. This novel exposure to Egypt inspired Egyptian Revival. The design style permeated Western decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, architecture, commemorative, and funerary monuments. Obelisks, hieroglyphs, sphinxes, pyramids, scarabs, and lotus blossoms were popular motifs.


In 1922, Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb and the extensive artifacts uncovered with it sparked renewed enthusiasm for all things Egyptian. Ancient Egypt influenced everything from commercial buildings, movie theaters, and films to clothing, mass-produced items, and advertisements. No other ancient civilization’s art and architecture has captivated the Western world in quite the same manner. The public’s love of ancient Egypt remains eternal.


View the exhibition online


Egyptian Revival: An Everlasting Allure is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from January 10, 2015 to July 5, 2015. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features twenty-five galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit





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