On Saturday, I took my niece to see the new Mummies of the World exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. I had seen the advertising for the exhibit for some time and wanted to check it out for myself.
During the exhibit, we came face to face with the largest exhibition of real mummies and related artifacts ever assembled. According to the exhibition’s curators, Mummies of the World provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world including Europe, South America and Ancient Egypt, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations.
Through modern science, engaging interactive and multi-media exhibits featuring 3-D animation, we explored how mummies were created, where they come from and who they were. I have to admit…sometimes it was a little strange to see bodies that had been mummified, while others times it was quite fascinating. It is like the past and the present come together when you walk through Mummies of the World.
Things To Share With Children
When you visit with your family, here are a few questions the exhibition recommends that you ask your children. I thought the questions came in handy when I visited with my niece. They helped spur on conversations about history, ancient civilization and the role of religion in our lives.
What’s It All About?
The exhibition is designed to teach us how mummies are created through both natural and intentional processes. You will learn that mummification has occurred throughout history in cultures and environments worldwide. Through hands-on exhibits and by viewing real mummies, you will discover how current science tools enable us to study mummies without unwrapping them or otherwise damaging them. Each of the mummies on display has been recently studied with some of the latest science technology, so that we may find out new information about them. Studying mummies provides insight into ancient peoples, environments and civilizations.
Are the Mummies Real?
Mummies of the World is an exhibition of real human bodies and some animal bodies that have been preserved through mummification. Mummification occurs after the person is dead and is an interruption of the normal process of decomposition. Remind children that the mummies are no longer living. They were once real people, but they don’t look like everyday people now because the mummification process alters the way they look in many ways.
What Is A Mummy?
Mummification is a process where some of the soft tissue of bodies are preserved. Soft tissues are those parts of an organism that usually decay soon after death: skin, muscle, internal organs, hair and nails. Preserved bones and teeth without soft tissue are not mummified remains.
Where Do These Mummies Come From?
The mummies on display were found in countries all over the world and have been taken care of in museums for over 100 years. The museums have loaned the mummies to this exhibition so that everyone can learn from them.
Mummies of the World Exhibition Student Tours
Explore the scientific study of mummies and the cultural insights that science helps expose with a field trip to Mummies of the World. Through the use of modern scientific techniques, the mummies in the exhibition have revealed extraordinary details about the past: how tall people were, how long they lived, what kinds of food they ate and from what diseases they suffered. Clothing, jewelry and other personal artifacts placed on or with a mummy can tell us about the person’s status and lifestyle, as well as the values, beliefs, and attitudes of the culture in which they lived.
School group tickets are $8 per student. Groups must have at least 10 students to take advantage of the student group rate. One free chaperone for every 10 students is required.
About the Bowers Museum
The Mummies of the World Exhibition is in it’s final days and closes on September 5, 2016. No photography is allowed, but they do have a great audio tour available for free.
While visiting the Bowers Museum, I also recommend that you check out their other current exhibits on display including:
- Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy
- Spirits and Hunters: Art of the Pacific Islands
- California Bounty: Image and Identity: 1850-1930
- The Virgin of Guadalupe: Images in Colonial Mexico
- Mystery From The Tomb: The Face Beneath The Mask
- Sacred Realms: Temple Murals By Shashi Dhoj Tulachan From The Gayle and Edward P. Roski Collection
In addition to Mummies of the World, the Bowers Museum is known for hosting outstanding lectures, art classes, musical performances, travel programs and children’s art and music education programs. The Bowers Museum is also home to the Bowers Kidseum, which is located a block away, and focuses on children’s programs.
The Bowers Museum is located at the corner of 20th & Main Streets in Santa Ana – one minute from the 5 freeway, (Main St. South exit) and just minutes from the 57, 55 and 22 freeways. Parking is available directly north and south of the museum for a $6 fee.
Happy Field Tripping!