My last full day in Cairo, our training ended early. So after passing the end-of-course test (woot), I was able to take advantage of a couple free hours in the afternoon to visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, or as it is more commonly known, the Egyptian Museum. It’s been a common theme throughout many of my blog posts about Cairo, but I really could have spent hours at the museum — over multiple days — and still not fully experience all it has to offer. It is that vast.The Egyptian Museum houses some 160,000 statues, sculptures and artifacts, about 75 percent of which is on display to the public. A new museum is being built that is scheduled to open in a couple years and will house many more historical objects, although many will remain in the current museum.The most famous exhibits in the Egyptian Museum are the golden mask of King Tut and not one, but two, royal mummy rooms. Photography is prohibited in the museum and visitors have to leave their cameras at a security checkpoint, so I unfortunately was not able to take any photos inside the museum.King Tutankhamun (Photo Credit: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, via Wikimedia Commons).Seeing such an iconic image in person was surreal, kind of like seeing the pyramids in person for the first time. I’d seen countless images and depictions in books and movies and other media, and to see the golden mask of King Tut’s mummy on display in the museum was really a neat experience.The mummies? Not so much. I mean I wasn’t not going to see them, but they creeped me out. One thing that was cool was seeing the mummy of King Ramses II — the same King Ramses II whose gigantic statue I saw in Memphis.We didn’t hire a tour guide and relied instead on a $5 guidebook purchased at the museum, but for my next visit I’ll definitely request a guide. The book was somewhat useful, as it had detailed descriptions on a handful of exhibits, but its English/grammar was lacking and so was its map, probably the thing that would have been most useful to get a better sense of how the museum is laid out. One of my colleagues who had visited the museum several years ago said the exhibits used to have more information and descriptions, but now most of the details have been removed in order to promote the use of guide services.Tourism in Egypt has declined since the revolution in 2011, and riots resulted in extensive damage to the museum and the looting of some of its exhibits. It was surreal to be walking around Tahrir Square, empty save for regular afternoon traffic (and a few military tanks on standby), after having seen on the news the events that unfolded there.What’s your favorite museum?