Out and About: A Department Trip to the Freud Museum (George Peckham, ITP Assistant)

Written by George Peckham, International Training Programme Assistant

This week, the Department of Egypt and Sudan were treated to a private view of the Freud Museum and its temporary exhibition, Between Oedipus and the Sphinx: Freud and Egypt.

Tucked away in North London lies the final home of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. The Freud family were forced to flee their native Austria due to the Nazi annexation of the country in 1938. His daughter, Anna Freud, who was a pioneering child psychoanalyst lived in the home until her death in 1982. Four years later the house was converted into a museum.

We had the whole museum to ourselves to learn about the life and work of Sigmund and Anna Freud, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. The temporary exhibition, Between Oedipus and the Sphinx: Freud and Egypt, explores Sigmund Freud’s fascination with Egyptian antiquities. The exhibition was devised in partnership with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and puts on display some of the Egyptian artefacts that Freud collected over his life.

Themes of death and sexuality are explored in this small, one-room exhibition. It is clear to see the significance that Egyptian culture played in the development of Freud’s theories.

Exploring the rest of the house, it was fascinating to see Sigmund Freud’s study and library. We could also see his famous psychoanalytic couch, where he would conduct his therapeutic sessions.

Our private evening in the museum concluded with some drinks! Unfortunately due to bad weather, we were unable to enjoy the museum’s garden. Instead we enjoyed our drinks in a room surrounded by some of Freud’s possessions.

Knowing somewhat about Sigmund Freud’s work in psychoanalysis, it was fascinating to learn about his passion for archaeology and Egyptology. The Freud Museum is well worth an afternoon visit if you’re ever in the North London area!