LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 14, 2015) - New scientific findings once bound in ancient and mummified Egyptian and Peruvian remains will be revealed when the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) presents the world premiere of Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs, the first touring exhibition of North America's largest collection of mummies. Organized by The Field Museum, the exhibition provides a rare and immersive look at their preeminent collection of mummies -- which has never traveled outside of the museum -- going beyond mummification in royal Egypt to explore the surprising similarities and vast differences between these societies, their environments and the preparations they made for the dead in the afterlife.
On view from September 18, 2015 through January 18, 2016, Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs features over 20 mummies and coffins including one of the oldest mummies in the world, from Pre-Dynastic Egypt to Pre-Incan Peru, alongside archaeological treasures such as sarcophagus fragments, mummified heads and "trophy skulls," stone masks, animal mummies, and pots to bring food and beer into the afterlife. Using modern and non-invasive research techniques, scientists and curators were able to avoid the hazards of unwrapping the fragile specimens to virtually uncover a wealth of new discoveries about the mummy individuals -- each sacred storehouses of natural and cultural information. The exhibition presents these findings through the use of CT scans, 3D printed casts of bones and burial figurines; forensically reconstructed sculptural busts by renowned artist Elisabeth Daynès; and interactive touch tables for digitally unwrapping mummies to explore their interior. To celebrate the Los Angeles premiere, NHM will extend its opening day hours through midnight on Friday, September 18.
"The role of a natural history museum is to serve as a laboratory for the exploration of our natural and cultural pasts and science is our pathway," said Jane Pisano, NHM President and Director. "Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs uses modern science to challenge and help to unravel what we know about these ancient peoples and their cultures, and in doing so, offers the world an intensely up-close look at The Field's preeminent collection of mummies, many of them tucked safely away in vaults for over a century."
Highlights from the exhibition include:
Reconstructions of a Chancay culture burial pit (Peru) and tomb of the 26th Dynasty (Egypt) to gain a deeper understanding of archaeological discoveries and their contexts.
CT scans, X-rays, and 3D-printed skulls unlock mysteries inside the five Peruvian mummies profiled in the exhibition. One of the Peruvian mummy bundles is visually unwrapped by CT scan to reveal a female who died in childbirth and was mummified with her newborn.
Mummification tools and a clay burial mummy mask show how the Chinchorro peoples memorialized their dead, while the sitting bundles of the Chancay society are portrayed in layers of colorful textiles surrounded by offerings of guardian figurines and pots of beer and food.
The Egyptian section features stone sarcophagus fragments, intricately painted coffins and animal mummies such as cats and a gazelle paired with rich objects and specimens.
One of the most intact and oldest mummies in the world from Egypt before the pharaohs as well canopic jars, simple and complex wrapping techniques, and gilded masks from later periods highlight the different mummification methods (artificial and natural) used by different social classes in ancient Egypt.
The 14-year-old boy "Minirdis," a remarkable 2,000 year-old Ptolemaic mummy with a coffin dating from the 25th or 26th century BC.
Gilded Lady, the mummy of a 40-year-old female of the Roman era, paired with CT scans to reveal her age, a slight overbite and curly Cleopatra-like hair.
A brother and sister of the Ptolemaic era, both about 11 years old when they died, with superbly gilded and decorated masks.
Planned around nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs will be installed inside NHM's newly renovated galleries on the Ground Level and will include a museum store inspired by the exhibition.
Organized by The Field Museum, Chicago, the exhibition will travel to other major natural history museums and science centers in the United States before returning to The Field.
Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs was developed by The Field Museum, Chicago.
1. This mummy's headdress is made of cartonnage (glued layers of papyrus or linen) and covered with gilding. Ancient Egyptians believed the gold would enable the person's eyes, nose and mouth to stay intact for the afterlife. © 2015 The Field Museum, photograph by John Weinstein.
2. CT scanning of these two beautifully gilded and decorated mummies of Ptolemaic Egypt reveal a sister and a brother, both about 11 years old. © 2015 The Field Museum, photograph by John Weinstein.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
September 18, opening day, 9:30 a.m. - midnight
September 19, 2015 through January 18, 2016, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 pm daily
General admission tickets go on sale Monday, August 10, 2015. Visit nhm.org to sign up to receive new exhibit information, special offers, and to be one of the first to see Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs.
Groups of 10 or more people receive discounted rates on Museum admission. Reserve your group tickets for Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs starting this June, call (213) 763-3218 or e-mail groupsalesNH@nhm.org for reservations and more information.
Tickets to the exhibition are free for NHM members. To become a member visit nhm.org/membership.
About the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles. It is open daily 9:30 am to 5 pm. The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world's most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history -- with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Park and Museum (Newhall, California). The Family of Museums serves more than one million families and visitors annually, and is a national leader in research, exhibitions and education.
About The Field Museum
The Field Museum is one of the world's foremost natural history museums, housing more than 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibitions, 27 million artifacts and specimens and a staff of leading research scientists. Since 2000, the Museum has engaged nearly 25 million people worldwide through 15 critically acclaimed exhibitions including SUE the T. rex and Inside Ancient Egypt. Field Museum scientists working around the globe have discovered more than 1147 species new to science in the last decade and helped to protect more than 33 million acres of wildlife by partnering with other organizations to provide the scientific foundation for these efforts.
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