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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mummy on a Budget: Mummies of the World The Exhibition

                                                                   Mummies of the World: The Exhibition

This is a sponsored post brought to you by WCPO Insider (WCPO Insider Website), and we received free tickets for this post.

After sitting next to an illustrator on a plane and striking up a conversation with her (yes, my husband is that annoying guy), he went out and bought her book: “A is for Appalachia.”  Great book but do you know what “U” stands for?  Undertaker.

So, when he read that page to our then three-year-old and Knox asked what an undertaker does, my husband went into incredible detail, leaving no terrifyingly grotesque element untold.  So, when we took my now five-year-old to see Mummies of the World, he was somewhat emotionally prepared for what we were about to see.   However, if your son or daughter has not had a “U is for Undertaker” experience, you may want to consider talking to your kids about what to expect before seeing the traveling exhibit set to open at the Museum Center at Union Terminal, tomorrow November 26.

From the Museum Center's website: “Mummies of the World portrays a once-in-a-lifetime collection of real mummies and artifacts from across the globe. This compelling collection, presented with reverence and dignity, includes ancient mummies dating back as far as 4,500 years. A fascinating mix of old and new, this captivating collection bridges the gap between past and present with contributions from 10 world-renowned Institutions and two private collectors.”

The special exhibit, which runs through April 26 with timed tours occurring on each quarter hour, begins with a reminder to entrants that this is, essentially, the “final” resting place for the mummified bodies. These are not re-creations but actual mummies, some of whom were naturally mummified due to the conditions in which they died, others mummified intentionally.

In the background, somber and respectful music plays throughout the dimly lit rooms, an ambiance somewhat chilling and, perhaps, a bit frightening to my two- and five-year-olds.

We are then introduced to the interesting mummies and the life story each of them tells. We meet the Baron and Baroness Sheneck von Geiern, two naturally preserved mummies found in the crypt at the Sommersdorf Castle in Germany.  Members of the Crailsheim Family, who’ve lived in the castle since 1550 and still live there today, running a bed and breakfast, the Baron and Baroness are pristinely preserved, even still wearing the boots in which the Baron was buried.  Per one of the guides, the descendants of the Scheneck von Geiern’s are happy to see their ancestors finally get to travel the world.

In addition to royalty, the exhibit also houses a number of shrunken heads, mostly Peruvian.  The Jivaro tribes in the Amazon considered these to be war trophies and would wear the heads as necklaces after besting their foes.

Finally, the Orlovitis family, a family of three including a year-old infant, introduce the visitor to the scientific purposes of studying mummies, one of which is to study cures for diseases.  This family all died of Tuberculosis.  Scientists have been able to study the disease and the DNA from the mummy samples which has been preserved due to the mummification process.  They can then determine if a certain gene makes one more or less prone to contracting this and, theoretically, other diseases.  If you, like I did, think it is odd to see a child mummy, you’d be wrong.  In fact, many mummified bodies were those of children, as infant mortality rates throughout history were so high.  When a child died very young, the grieving parents would often mummify the body to preserve the memory.

All told, this was a very informative and interesting exhibit. I highly recommend it. It was definitely worth seeing and learning about.  Tickets are $19.50 for an adult and $12.50 for a child but members get a discounted rate.

For more information, visit the Museum Center’s website at

Be sure to tell them, Mummy on a Budget sent you.

Knox, Kevin and Finley. #WeWereThere

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