Mummies of the World The Exhibition


Table of Contents


The most popular and most well-known of mummies are the Egyptian Mummies. In this exhibition, you will not only learn about the Egyptian Mummies Nes-Hor and Nes-Min, but also discover how mummification happened in other countries and hear new stories about mummies that you never realized existed.

Every mummy has a story to be told.

Each mummy throughout the world has a rich and unique history to be discovered. Many of these mummies in Mummies of the World: The Exhibition have helped advance science and medical technology and knowledge. The stories of these mummies have just begun to be understood, with many questions still to be answered. As you will learn, the mummies reveal the real-life stories of these fascinating people and their stories live on through science and research.


THE BURNS COLLECTION

On loan from the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine

Dating from the early 19th century, the Burns’ medical mummies helped advance the study of the human body. The collection contributed to the teaching of anatomy, pathology and surgery in early medical education.

The Burns Collection was created by Allen Burns who developed skills in dissection and devised new methods for preservation, including embalming. Along with his partner, surgeon Andrew Russel, Burns’ process of preservation included chemical solutions containing arsenic, mercury, nitrates, oxides and other toxic compounds. Blood vessels were casted and filled with colored compounds while anatomical structures were identified and dissected. Salt and sugar were the final solution for preservation.

After his death, the collection continued to be part of the history of medicine and science advancement.


MUMAB

From the San Diego Museum of Man, where it is on loan from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine


The first man-made Mummy of the University of Maryland at Baltimore, or MUMAB, was the first modern-day ancient mummy. To understand the methods of Egyptian mummification, Dr. Bob Brier and Ronn Wade created a mummy in 1994. They used a modern body that was donated to science and that died of natural causes—in order to replicate the process as accurately as possible.

They used replica Egyptian tools, organic materials such as natron (similar to a combination of modern-day salt and baking soda), and the mummification took place in the ibu tent, where it was ritually purified with palm wine and water. They even learned how Egyptians removed the brain from the skull of the mummy.

Currently, this mummification process is seen as a success, as there have been no signs of decay.


THE BARON AND BARONESS

Permission from Dr. Manfred Baron Von Crailsheim to study the mummies and put on exhibit

In the 17th century, aristocrat Baron Von Holz took shelter with relatives during the Thirty Years’ War in Europe. The baron died at the castle and was buried in the family crypt along with the Baroness Schneck Von Geiern.

When they were found years later, it was discovered that they were not embalmed, so how were their bodies mummified? While the exact reasoning isn’t confirmed, it’s possible the family became mummified from a desiccation of the soft tissue from a constant flow of air. Through CT scans, they found the Baron had an extra vertebra in his back and the baroness had kyphoscoliosis.


THE VAC MUMMIES

In 1994, these naturally preserved mummies were found in a secret room in a church in Vac, Hungry. The remains of these people showed intact clothing, hair and skin that was caused by the cool, dry air of the crypt and oil from the pine board coffins they were kept in.

With ancient DNA analysis, local scientists and surgeons were able to determine the cause of death for one of the mummies was tuberculosis. In addition, a medical endoscope was used to take a small tissue sample from the mummy’s gut to determine other medical problems.

These results are not yet available.