As I mentioned previously, we have several mummified heads in the Artifact Lab. Luckily, all of them are stable and do not require much in the way of conservation treatment – instead we have focused on examination, documentation, and some light surface cleaning, and in one case, the removal of an old exhibit armature.
We have a lot of things going on at the moment, so thankfully, I’ve gotten some help with this work. A couple weeks ago we had a group of 5 undergraduate art conservation students from the University of Delaware in the lab – they spent the month of January interning in our department on a project focused on documenting and cleaning a group of Arctic boats in storage.
They wrapped up that project a day early, and so on the last day of their internship, they got to work on something totally different – and several of them elected to help condition report one of the heads.
After fully documenting the heads and carrying out any necessary treatment, our main goal is to construct new storage mounts for these remains. Our Egyptian storage areas are fairly packed with artifacts, and because of this, many things are stored in a way that makes them hard to access or see without a lot of handling.
New storage supports will improve access and provide better protection for these remains. Our plan is to make handling trays for the heads, which can then be housed within custom-made boxes.
I’m getting some help with this as well – Artifact Lab intern Melissa Miller has been working on the first tray and box.
We will be sure to post photos once we’ve completed them!