Brief History of the Egyptian Study Society

The monumental exhibit, "Ramses II: The Great Pharaoh and His Time" was held at the Denver Museum of Natural History [now Nature and Science] in the winter of 1987-88. The exhibit required a large number of volunteers and docents,all of whom enjoyed extensive training in matters concerning Ancient Egypt.

Following the close of the exhibit, a number of the volunteers got together and decided that the study of Egyptology was fascinating and that they definitely did not want to stop learning more about it. As a result, the Egyptian Study Society was formed in the fall of 1988.  As of September, 1999, the ESS was the only remaining Associate Group of the Museum. ESS is now the oldest independent non-profit organization devoted to the study of ancient Egypt.

From an initial group of less than twenty members, the ESS has grown to almost 200 members. It is one of the largest and most active amateur Egyptological organizations of its kind in the United States. Its programs are reported regularly in such international publications as KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt. The ESS (and as a consequence, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science) is well known and held in high regard by international Egyptological circles, and renowned experts in the field are excited to be invited to Denver to speak at the museum.

Regular ESS meetings are held at 7:00 PM in Ricketson Auditorium on the 3rd Monday of each month. The August meeting is replaced by an annual picnic, and there is no meeting in December.  The meetings are hour-long lectures given by local, national, and international speakers on a wide variety of topics concerning Ancient Egypt. A number of members and guests get together for a social hour at a local restaurant following each meeting. This is a good time to meet the speaker.

In recent years, the ESS has hosted such internationally renowned Egyptologists as Dr. Peter der Manuelian, Dr. W. Benson Harer, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Mr. T.G.H. James, Mr. Barry Kemp, Dr. Mark Lehner, Dr. William J. Murnane, Dr. Daniel Polz, Dr. Donald Ryan, Dr. Emily Teeter, Dr. Dietrich Wildung, and Dr. Richard H. Wilkinson, to name only a few.

The ESS usually hosts a members-only reception for our out-of-town speakers at which our members can socialize and get to know these prominent individuals in an informal setting.

In addition to its regular lectures, the ESS has several "special interest" study groups for those members who are particularly interested in specific aspects of Egyptology.These study groups meet on a monthly basis,usually at the Museum. Current study groups include members interested in Egyptian art, hieroglyphs, books, mummies, and ancient records and literature.

The ESS has two publications. The Scribe's Palette, a monthly newsletter [now online] that gives information about upcoming programs (both in Denver and throughout the United States), current Egyptological news, and news about the ESS and its members in general.  The Ostracon is published once a year. It is more scholarly and contains articles written by professional egyptologists, students, members, and egyptophiles throughout the country.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Ancient Egypt is very welcome and encouraged to join the organization. Members of the ESS are extremely diverse.  Some know a great deal about Egyptology, others know very little. Some have been to Egypt, others have not. But all are brought together by an interest in the subject and a desire to know more about it. The ESS approaches the subject of Egyptology from a historic and scientific perspective, rather than exploring "New Age" theories.

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[revised 3/2014]