This month, the Museum is celebrating CultureFest so our next Conservation Confidential relates to some of the work done in renovating our Mexico and Central America Gallery. Project Conservator Alexis North will describe the eventful journey of some of the Maya stelae from the jungles of Belize to their current locations, with a few adventures along the way.
Conservation Confidential will go live at 1:00 pm EDT this Friday on the Penn Museum Facebook page. Tune in to watch and ask questions live from 1 – 2 pm. Can’t make the live version? No problem, you can see the archived version here, under the heading Conservation Confidential, and post any questions or comments on our blog.
If you stopped by the Artifact Lab this week, you might have noticed that our falcon mummy is no longer on display, and this sign in its place:
As indicated on the sign, the falcon has been removed for x-radiography. This mummy has never been x-rayed before, and we’re interested in using this imaging technology to learn how it was made and if there are any falcon remains inside!
Along with the falcon, we’re also going to be x-raying/CT-scanning our (possibly headless) cat mummy, the wooden statue heads, and several other pieces.
We do not have the ability to x-ray and CT-scan objects here in the museum, so we will be taking these selected pieces for a little trip tomorrow. In preparation for their travels, they are securely packed, and ready for this exciting excursion!
The falcon mummy is secured inside its storage support and packed into a larger box for travel.
We will update the blog with our findings soon after we return.
I don’t think many people will argue with me about this – a day at work (heck, a day in my life!) can’t really get more exciting than opening a 2500+ year old Egyptian coffin. For the last several months, we have been carrying out treatment to stabilize the loose wood, crumbling gesso, and flaking and powdery paint on the lid of Tawahibre’s coffin. While there is still a lot of aesthetic work to carry out, we finally got the lid to a point where we deemed it stable enough to remove it from it’s base.
Removing the lid from an incredibly fragile 2500+ year old coffin doesn’t happen without a lot of planning and discussions ahead of time.
Okay, okay, so, the coffin has been opened before, and we knew that there wasn’t a mummy inside anymore (she’s down in storage), but opening the coffin was monumental nonetheless, as the lid hadn’t been removed in decades and we didn’t really know what we would find inside.
Fortunately, we were able to lift and move it without any problems:
(they really make it look like a breeze, don’t they?)
And now the lid is safely resting on a new palette, and the interior of the coffin is revealed to us for the first time:
Yup, just another day in the Artifact Lab. We’ll fill you in later about what we’re learning and what’s going to happen next.