NOMA’s Queen Nefertari’s Egypt Exhibit Is Marveling View Into Egyptian Royalty and History

Image source: New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is currently presenting the exhibit Queen Nefertari’s Egypt from now until July 17. According to a NOMA press release, Queen Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was the favorite wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II (reigned 1279–13 BCE) and held significant diplomatic and religious roles before her death in c. 1250 BCE. She carried titles such as the Lady of the Two Lands and the Great Royal Wife.

The reign of this Egyptian Queen is linked to some of the most magnificent monuments of ancient Egypt, and artifacts presented in Queen Nefertari’s Egypt provide a comprehensive look into the power and influence of women during the New Kingdom period (c. 1539-1075 BCE) when Egyptian civilization was at its height.

Image source: New Orleans Museum of Art

Queen Nefertari was highly educated and able to read and write hieroglyphs. Married to Ramses when she was a young teenager, Nefertari, along with her husband, took an active role in ancient Egypt. Considered a consort and diplomat,her tomb, QV66, is one of the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his own colossal monument. 

Italian archeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli discovered Nefertari’s tomb in 1904, and the objects in the upcoming NOMA exhibit are from the collection of the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy. The tomb itself depicts images of Nefertari’s voyage into the afterlife. Between 1986 and 1992, the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and the Getty Conservation Institute began the process of preserving the tomb’s wall paintings and the tomb itself has been open to the public since 1995.

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt will be presented in six sections and cast light upon the belief systems of the New Kingdom period, life in the women’s palace and the roles of women in ancient Egypt, as well as the everyday life of artisans, and the ritual pratices around death and the afterlife. Those six sections, including 230 objects, are Pharaohs, Goddesses, and the Temple; Women in Ancient Egypt; Deir el-Medina: The Worker’s Village; The Afterlife; Queen Nefertari’s Tomb; and Egyptian Funerary Texts and Painted Coffins.

Image source: New Orleans Museum of Art

Situated outside the galleries is Nefertari’s Tomb Model, an accurate to-scale model of the Queen’s tomb.

As the release explained, The Queen Nefertari’s Egypt catalogue will be available at the NOMA Museum Shop and feature nine essays, focusing on Egyptian funerary beliefs, various aspects of the Museo Egizio’s outstanding collection, the early twentieth-century Italian archaeological missions, and Schiaparelli’s most significant find—the tomb of Queen Nefertari. The catalogue also includes an illustrated selection of more than 70 of the 230 exceptional objects featured in the exhibition.

On June 24, Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Culture, the University of California at Los Angeles, will present a lecture on Women and Power in Ancient Egypt. 

Image source: New Orleans Museum of Art

The tour of Queen Nefertari’s Egypt began in Canada, and New Orleans is its final stop before the pieces return to Egypt.

The exhibit is on view to the public at NOMA until July 17; during this time, NOMA will be open seven days a week to visitors, and will offer extended hours. Reservations are encouraged. Exclusive Nefertari Merchandise is available at the NOMA Museum Shop. 

  • Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

NOMA members will have access to exclusive Member Magic Hours


  • $25 for adults, $20 for active military members and seniors
  • $18 for university students, $7 for out-of-state youth ages 8–19
  • Admission is free for NOMA members and children seven and under, free for Louisiana youth ages 19 and under, courtesy of The Helis Foundation, and free for Taylor Scholars and two guests. 
  • On Wednesdays, Louisiana residents receive free general admission to the museum courtesy of The Helis Foundation; access to the special exhibition Queen Nefertari’s Egypt is an additional $10 per adult. 
  • New Orleans Public Library Culture Pass holders receive free general admission to the museum, with access to the special exhibition at an additional $10 admission fee.

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