Uncovering the mummies: Monday 4th August 2008

On Monday 4th August the temporary covering will be removed from the mummy known as Khary, Asru will have her fa

Asru, partially covered

Asru, partially covered

ce and feet revealed, and the covered child mummy will be removed from display in advance of returning to the institution that loaned it.

We would like to hear your thoughts on ways of displaying Egyptian human remains. What do you think is most appropriate: partially covered, like the royal mummies in Egypt (see the image of mummy of Hatshepsut on the right), or uncovered (if unwrapped)? Should child mummies and skeletal remains be treated in a  different way? Post your thoughts here or pop in to the Museum and fill in a feedback card.

The human remains consultation will run until August 2009, and will also include a research project into displaying Egyptian human remains in museums. Your feedback is central to the research.

12 Comments

Filed under Egyptian mummies

12 responses to “Uncovering the mummies: Monday 4th August 2008

  1. Lee Dickenson

    How can we see the results of conservation processes if the mummies are covered? Must one have a PhD before seeing a historical body? Bodies are covered in the name of ‘repsect for the dead’, but what may have been the wishes of an individual from an open-body society such as ancient Greece or Rome? The real reason for covering the bodies is the taboos created in our own culture which stigmatise any naked display, boiling down to Christian purity and nonsensical morality. The human body is to be celebrated, be it youthful and sexy (and, of course, alive) or rotting and hideous.

  2. Dan

    I find the whole subject of having Egyptian mummies (or any mummy) in a museum abhorrent.

    As a response to Lee above, these mummies are not chests or furniture, these were once people. With beliefs and faiths that go against what we are doing to their remains.

    They should be treated with a little more dignity in death, should they be studied, yes.

    But they should not be kept in glass boxes for people to see.

  3. karen

    well it’s about time

    maybe now the people will start coming back the
    musuem

  4. Danny Proudfoot

    My family and I thoroughly enjoyed our journey through the Eygptology rooms. I am rather worried that the gallery space is going to be redesigned. Is the museum scared of offending people? For every person who is offended by the sight of human remains I expect there will be ten others who would be offended if they were deprived of the right to see important historical artefacts. Fear of causing offence is a poor guide for designing museum space.

    I noticed that alternative routes are already available for people who do not wish to see remains. This seems a sensible course of action. These routes should be well signed and have a range of interesting materials displayed.

    Visitors could then choose to see any exhibits with remains. I expect that the vast majority would choose to look at such exhibits because they are of particular interest. Some people will be moved by them and no doubt some people will get a ghoulish thrill from them. I think both responses are totally acceptable. The remains should be diplayed respectfully but the issue of covered, partially covered, uncovered should be driven by educational considerations and nothing more.

  5. Gary corbett

    I think that the heads of the mummies should be uncovered for all to see other wise whats the point in having them in a museum.

  6. egyptmanchester

    Dear Gary

    Many thanks for your comment. The mummies are uncovered apart from Asru, who has her head and feet showing.

  7. Billie

    I think that one of the guiding principles should be what value can the muumy add, considered on a case by case basis. Should there be a particularly remarkable or unique aspect of the part of the mummu – eg. red hair, finger stalls etc – this should be displayed. I understand that the unwrapped torso area rarely shows something of value in this way, and so should be covered. Therefore I support displaying what we can learn from or marvel (not gawk or leer) at, and covering that which isn’t necessary – by this measure, the museum is doing the right thing by covering the torso and displaying heads, hands, feet etc. The same should apply to child mummies and skeletal remains.

    It should also be considered that ancient Egyptian beliefs regarded being remembered as paramount to eternal life, and an intact body as a definite bonus. Display in a museum serves both these purposes – that the name be remembered and the body preserved. The cultural and religious mores of the ancients are therefore being respected.

  8. It would be a pleasure to see Asru as she was before you put a sheet over her body. To be able to see a mummified body from two thousand years ago would be an amazing experience.The museum is so fantastic that it appeared to be as if I was really living it!

  9. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on SU telling that the info is quite decent. Thanks.

  10. Да,несогласен с предыдущими высказываниями
    ^..^🙂

  11. Да,несогласен с предыдущими ораторами
    )🙂

  12. Debbie

    I think the mummies should be returned to Egypt, along with all the other Egyptian artifacts.

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