They had me at the Egyptian mummy. Two of them, in fact, are on display here, one in a coffin, the other enshrouded in linen. The mummies, and all of the artifacts, statues, palace corridors, jewels, and other Near Eastern art items are here because they were unearthed in excavations by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, which is dedicated to studying archaeology, languages, and culture as it moved west out of Africa. The museum’s 170,000 items come from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Nubia, Syria, and Turkey—once considered “the Orient”—and date back as far as 10,000 b.c. The Chicago connection of every item housed here gives it added appeal, in my mind. To enhance your visit, get the iPod self-guided tour from the Suq gift shop ($5). They may not tell you about it when you walk in, but it’s available and really adds to the visit. Allow 1 hour.