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A new experience at the Field Museum allows visitors to access a hidden Egyptian chapel

Zach Long
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Zach Long

Even if you've already seen all of the artifacts on display in the Field Museum's permanent "Inside Ancient Egypt" exhibition and its temporary "Mummies" show, there's still one more piece of Egyptian history hidden somewhere within the museum. Later this week, visitors will be able to take part in an interactive experience called "Unlock the Chapel," which tasks amateur archeologists with gathering clues used to gain access to a 4,300-year-old ancient Egyptian chapel that isn't typically accessible to the general public.

In order to unlock access to the space, a group of four visitors is given a tablet that provides five puzzles to solve throughout the "Inside Ancient Egypt," "Ancient Americas" and "Mummies" exhibitions. Many of the puzzles make use of augmented reality technology, requiring users to scan objects to make virtual representations of artifacts appear within the space, allowing them to learn more about the history and traditions explored through each exhibit. Adult engagement manager Noah Cruickshank tells us that solving all of the puzzles should take about 90 minutes, at which point you'll unlock five offerings and the location of the chapel in the museum.

The chapel itself is part of the museum's permanent collection and has been hidden from the public since it was installed nearly 30 years ago. Thousands of years ago, it was the domain of Netjer-User, royal chamberlain to the pharaohs of the fifth dynasty (who also held the title of Master of Largess for the Mansion of Life). When they gain access to the structure, visitors will be able to get an up-close look at hieroglyphics that line its marble walls. It's a rare sight—Cruickshank tells us that there are no plans to put the chapel on display to the public anytime soon.

Of course, this special experience comes at a price: $128 for a group of four, which includes museum admission, puzzle supplies and a Discovery Pass that grants admission to the "Mummies" exhibition. Reservations can be made through the Field Museum's website and there are currently tickets available through April 29.

Photograph: Courtesy the Field Museum

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