In Mummies, uncover the lives of the people inside—from their families, work, and religious beliefs, to the objects they chose to bring into the afterlife.
This extraordinary, limited-time exhibition features mummies from ancient Peru and Egypt. Made up entirely of objects from our collection, the exhibition includes 14 mummies, intricately decorated coffins and mummy masks, ceramic items, and mummified animals. Seeing ancient Peruvian and Egyptian mummies in the same space brings to light the differences and similarities between these cultures.
Using non-invasive CT scanning and other cutting-edge technologies, our scientists can digitally peer through layers dating back thousands of years to reveal the human lives behind the gilded coffins and once-mysterious bundles. Explore their discoveries firsthand through interactive touch tables. These mummies paint a rich picture of people from a different time—and the cultures that lived on after their deaths.
When the mummies in this exhibition entered our collection 100 years ago, researchers could only guess at what was inside them—or risk damaging the contents by unwrapping or cutting into them.
Today, CT scanning and other non-invasive technologies allow us to study mummies with respect for the individuals and their cultures. Intricate CT scan images can tell us much more about the lives of the people now preserved as mummies.
3D data comes to life in realistic sculptures by French artist Élisabeth Daynès, who created lifelike renderings to depict what these people looked like when they were alive.
Thanks to these tools, we now know that one ancient Egyptian mummy from 2,000 years ago was a woman with curly hair and a slight overbite, who died in her 40s. Another mummy bundle, which contains an ancient Andean mother and two small children, includes goods they would have used like food and weaving spindles.
By using these technologies, we can see the individual people inside the mummies, gaining a better understanding of who they were as humans and of the cultures in which they lived.