Mummies of the World, the largest exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, is currently on exhibit at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
What makes this exhibit so interesting is the geographic diversity of the mummies. They aren’t just from Egypt, one the places we first think of when we hear the word mummy. It contains mummies from all across the world—with a variety of methods of preservation, which you will learn about. Not all were intended to become mummies. Not only human mummies are showcased, but animal ones too.
The Egyptian Civilization certainly was famous for their mummification. The Egyptians believed that the heart was the center of an individual’s personality and intelligence, so that is why they left it inside the body. Brains were removed through the nose.
The whole point of mummification is to preserve soft tissues like skin and hair, parts that would quickly decompose in normal circumstances. And that is precisely why these mummies are so extraordinary to look at. At the exhibit, you can examine these once living human beings very closely. To see the braided hair on the South American mummies gives a powerful reminder of the human element. The oldest mummy in the collection, known as the Detmold Child, died over 6,500 years ago at 10 months old.
There’s plenty more at the Franklin Institute, mostly for kids, but enough to keep the adults interested as well. There are lots of hands-on activities too, as well as an IMAX theater and a planetarium.
If you go: Mummies of the World runs through October 23, 2011 at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and Tickets are $26.50 and discounts are available Thursday-Sunday evening 5-8:30pm for $19.50.