Mummies of the World Exhibition Debuts in Philadelphia
by Daniel Haim
The Mummies are Coming! Mummies of the World Exhibition Debuts in Philadelphia June 18, 2011
A 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru, one the oldest child mummies ever discovered, joins an astonishing collection of mummies and related artifacts in the extraordinary exhibition Mummies of the World, which will make its debut at the world-renowned Franklin Institute on June 18, 2011. This prestigious venue has hosted some of the most highly-acclaimed exhibitions, including Body Worlds, King Tut and Cleopatra, to name a few. Mummies of the World is the first exhibition of its kind to be showcased at The Franklin Institute, portraying both naturally and intentionally preserved mummies from around the world in a never-before-seen collection unlike anything else that has ever toured the Northeastern United States.
Mummies of the World is the largest exhibition of real mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, featuring an astounding collection of 150 artifacts and real human and animal specimens from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Egypt. Through modern science and engaging interactive and multi-media exhibits, the exhibition reveals how the scientific study of mummies provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations. It also demonstrates that mummification – both through natural processes and intentional practices – has taken place all over the globe, from the hot desert sands of South America to remote European moors and bogs.
Not to be confused with the “Secrets of the Silk Road” China exhibit, the treasures presented in Mummies of the World include the Detmold Child, one of the oldest mummy infants ever discovered; the Vac Mummies, a mummified family from Budapest; the Baron and Baroness, discovered in a 14th century castle in Sommersdorf; and Egyptian animal mummies, intentionally preserved to accompany royals for eternity.
“We are excited to bring Mummies of the World to Philadelphia, a city that is lauded for its commitment to arts and culture,” said Marc Corwin, president of American Exhibitions, Inc. “Mummies of the World provides residents in the Philadelphia area with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see real mummies from around the world and explore the lives and cultures of these ancient people and civilizations. Inside every mummy is a story waiting to be told, and Mummies of the World is here to tell those stories.”
The concept began with the German Mummy Project’s re-discovery of 20 specimens within the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums of Mannheim, Germany in 2004. A consortium of mummy researchers used DNA analysis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), radiocarbon dating and mass spectrometry to learn more, and engaged the cooperation of 21 world-renowned museums, organizations and collections in seven countries to make this innovative exhibition possible.
Currently on display at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the exhibition premiered to sell out crowds in Los Angeles at the California Science Center in July 2010. It quickly became a major attraction and one of the most successful exhibits in the Science Center’s 13-year history.
“Mummies of the World is a must-see exhibition presenting a unique, never-before-seen collection of mummies and related artifacts from around the world, and we’re proud to be the first Northeastern venue to host this extraordinary exhibit,” said Dennis Wint, president and CEO of The Franklin Institute. “This is a great testament to the reputation of The Franklin Institute, and to the growing reputation of our city as a cultural center.”