And…he’s out!

PUM I is out of his coffin, and all in one piece (well, the part that we lifted from the coffin is still in one piece-as you know, parts of his body, including his head, were separated decades ago during his autopsy).

PUM I after removal from his coffin

We were able to remove him successfully thanks to great teamwork by our conservation staff (we had 8 people, including myself, helping with the lift) and the assistance of this nifty vacuum mattress:

Our EMS IMMOBILE-VAC mattress resting on the floor, prior to inflating

The EMS Immobile-Vac is a lightweight mattress that is used in the medical field to immobilize patients. Once a person is lifted onto the mattress, it is shaped into the configuration required and made rigid using vacuum suction. This was our first time using our Immobile-Vac, so before using it to support PUM I, we tested it on a human subject it to see if it would provide gentle yet rigid support for our mummy. Lynn Grant kindly offered to be the guinea pig, and reported that she barely felt anything as we pulled the vacuum and the mattress was shaped around her (I wish I had a photo of this step-I think one can be located, and if so, I will definitely be sharing it).

Happy with the performance of the Immobile-Vac, we moved on to the main task-getting PUM I out of his coffin. PUM I was lifted out by first supporting him within the coffin from below with pieces of coroplast to provide some rigidity, followed by large pieces of soft Tyvek, which acted as a stretcher. Using the Tyvek, he was lifted directly onto the Immobile-Vac mattress, which we had left pre-shaped – turns out, Lynn’s body provided just the right contour for our mummy, and no further re-shaping of the mattress was required at this point.

The Immobile-Vac shaped to provide support for PUM I

Now that he’s out, we are able to examine him much more closely, and we are already making interesting observations and discoveries. More on that soon.