Mummies are fascinating! They conjure up romantic and exciting images of ancient Egypt and monster movies. BONUS: They are also educational. So, I was excited to see Mummies of the World when it first came to Salt Lake City in 2013, and then again when it returned last month for a limited engagement at The Leonardo.
But will it give your children nightmares?
Here is what you need to know before you go.
Not all mummies are from Egypt
The Egyptian mummies were a draw for us, but one of the most interesting things about the exhibit was that other cultures used mummification techniques as well. Even more eye-opening, some mummies happen accidentally. Sometimes, a lack of oxygen or moisture will prevent decomposition and create a mummy instead.
Some mummies are modern. The new Mummies of the World features examples of modern mummification for the purposes of science and education. MUMAB is new to this exhibition. It is a wrapped mummy from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. A donor was mummified in 1994 using a process as close as possible to that of the ancient Egyptians.
Mummies were real people
You will see wrapped and unwrapped adult, child and animal mummies, some whose names and stories are known. You’ll have an opportunity to read about their lives and deaths. From the short film all visitors see at the beginning, to the final gallery, there are reminders of respect and humanity. Photography is not permitted.
Learn the science behind mummies
Interactive kiosks and displays throughout the exhibit explain how mummies are made and how scientists examine and learn from mummies today. Bog mummies and accidental mummies found in European crypts were fascinating to me. CT scans, X-ray and other less invasive techniques now make it possible to tell much about a mummy without damaging delicate wraps and tissues. I also learned that researchers are examining mummies for clues about tuberculosis, which continues to be a threat in parts of the world today.
Children are welcome at Mummies of the World
Children of all ages can attend Mummies of the World. However, it will not be appropriate for all children. Children under age 10 will not be admitted without a responsible adult and parents are encouraged to discuss the exhibit with their children before and after their visit. It is a moving and thought-provoking exhibition that will hopefully stimulate meaningful family conversation.
I took both my children to see Mummies of the World the first time it came to The Leonardo in 2013. They were 8 and 6 years old at the time. My daughter was fascinated by ancient Egypt and she begged us to take her. Both of my children came away with mixed feelings because it was not just about Egyptian mummies, the atmosphere was solemn and “creepy,” and there was a lot of scientific information. However, they had a good experience, and I would take them to see it again.
Mummies of the World is separated from the rest of The Leonardo and requires an additional ticket. All of the museum’s fun, hands-on exhibits are included when you attend Mummies of the World.
See more photos of the exhibit and get additional answers to questions at www.mummiesoftheworld.com.
Good to Know
Where: The Leonardo, 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City. The museum is an easy walk from the Library Station TRAX stop. Metered parking is available on the street for up to 2 hours. Street parking is free, but still limited to 2 hours, on weekends. An underground pay lot is open all day.
When: Mummies of the World is open daily, now through March 6, 2016. 10 am – 5 pm. Open until 10 pm on Fridays.
- Adult: $22
- Teen (12-17): $19.50
- Child (6-11): $18
- Preschool (0-5): FREE
How Long: 1+ hour to see Mummies of the World. 1-2+ hours to enjoy the rest of The Leonardo.
Amenities: Audio tours are available for $5. The museum has a cafe and gift shop.
Planning a trip to Salt Lake City?
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- The Leonardo
- The City Library in downtown Salt Lake City
- Natural History Museum of Utah
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- Our Utah for Families Pinterest board