Mummies on the move!

September 29, 2012

A coffin (left) and storage box with mummies (right) being transported through the Egyptian galleries.

No, the mummies haven’t come to life-that only happens in the movies (think the 1932 original “The Mummy”). We are in the final stages of preparing In the Artifact Lab for the opening on Sunday, September 30, and we’re moving several mummies and other objects from storage to their new digs up on the 3rd floor of the museum for exhibition and conservation.

Conservator Lynn Grant preparing a cart of artifacts in Egyptian storage.

And when I say mummies, I mean all types of mummies-human, of course, and animal, including cats, birds, and an unbelievably cute crocodile. In fact, according to one of our curators, Dr. Jennifer Wegner, in Ancient Egypt, there really weren’t any types of animals that they didn’t mummify.

Director of Exhibitions Kate Quinn putting the finishing touches on a case with animal mummies (that cute crocodile is in the center)

In addition to mummies, there will also be other associated funerary objects in the lab and on exhibit, such as coffins, mummy portraits and a burial shroud.

Over the past few days, there has been a whirlwind of activity around the Artifact Lab. Much of this activity has been related to prepping the exhibit and lab space: assembling furniture, shelving installation, the arrival of our new Leica microscope and the Smartboard, and installing the exhibit graphics and interactives. But what really makes the space come to life, somewhat ironically, are the mummies and funerary items. Those that will be on exhibit are now installed and beautifully displayed in their cases, and we brought the last items up from storage on Friday for study and conservation in the lab.

Exhibits staff Ben Neiditz and Jesse Gorham-Engard install a painted linen mummy shroud.

Many people have worked hard to pull this together, and one of the coolest things is that the work doesn’t stop here, not by any means-we’re just getting started.