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Modern Day Mummy: The Art & Science of Mummification

2011-12-27 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


San Diego Museum of Man
1350 El Prado
San Diego, CA
(619) 239-2001


Event Website


Mummies have been discovered on every continent of the globe, a small sampling of which are now on display in a provocative new exhibition at the Museum of Man that explores the past, present, and future of mummification.

Modern Day Mummy takes a cross-cultural look at the various techniques and purposes of different societies for preserving the remains of their dead. It also reveals how many corpses survive intact for hundreds, if not thousands, of years due to natural conditions.

The gallery centerpiece is what gives the exhibition its name: the mummified remains of a Baltimore man who had died in his 70s of heart failure and donated his body to science. Dubbed Mumab, his corpse was preserved by two researchers in the 1990s who carefully recreated the process of Egyptian mummification, down to using similar herbs, salts, and bronze tools as the Egyptians.

The display of Mumab also examines how state-of-the-art imaging technologies are used to uncover the many stories mummies can tell about their culture and society of origin, life history, and cause of death without removing a single bandage. Other related exhibits inModern Day Mummy show how scientists can study mummies intact in the field when they can’t be transferred to the laboratory.

Additional exhibition highlights include authentic shrunken heads from Ecuador, the 500-year-old mummy of an infant from Peru that was naturally preserved by the arid climate, and the corpse of a falcon that was found and preserved within the past year using Egyptian mummification techniques.