Mummies of the World Unite!
Largest exhibit of mummies now traveling the U.S.
Mummies of the World made its World Premiere on July 1, 2010. Since then, it has become one of the most successful paid exhibits at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. I was given an exclusive tour of the exhibit by Jarrod Miller-Dean, California Science Center Communications coordinator.
Inside the exhibit, it was grave and eerie at times. Though there were many people inside the museum with me, I felt very alone.
Soon, I realized that the mummies weren’t so scary after all. They were displayed with dignity and respect and that came across in the exhibition.
The exhibition includes 45 human and animal mummies. They come from museums in South America, Europe, Oceania, Asia, and Egypt.
“We want people to understand that mummies don’t come just from Ancient Egypt,” said Diane Perlov, California Science Center senior vice president for exhibits. “We also want people to learn more about science tools that let scientists study mummies without destroying them.”
Jarrod pointed out to me that many mummies in the exhibit are natural mummies. The Detmold Child, a Peruvian child mummy that dates to 6,420 years ago, really grabbed my attention. I could see what it looked like when it died.
I asked Ms. Perlov which mummy she thought was the most fascinating.
“To me, one of the most fascinating ones are the mummies from Hungary,” she replied. “For example, the Orlovits Family, who suffered from tuberculosis.”
Michael, Veronica, and son Johannes Orlovits were 18th century mummies found in a church in Hungary. I thought they were interesting because they were wearing their “Sunday best,” or their church clothes.
Mummies of the World fascinated me. I devoured every bit of information I could. I came out of the exhibition feeling awed and amazed. I realized that what we know about mummies isn't all in the past. What we have learned through mummies may help us eliminate deadly diseases in the future.
“Scientists can go inside the mummies and extract the DNA,” said Diane Perlov. “Then they can try to find some medicine that is resistant to diseases like tuberculosis.”
Mummies of the World began a three-year tour in the U.S. this month. Check out www.mummiesoftheworld.com for more information.
You can also check out my video interview with Ms. Perlov, which includes a closer look at some of the actual mummies!
PHOTO: The Detmold Child is a naturally preserved Peruvian child mummy. (Photo Courtesy American Exhibitions, Inc.)