Thursday, October 15, 2009

REVIEW: The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato comes to the Detroit Science Center

This evening, my son and I went to the Detroit Science Center for the members only viewing of "The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato". The exhibit features 36 mummies on loan from the Museo de las Momias De Guanajuato in Mexico.

The mummies were accidental because, unlike mummies in Egypt, these bodies were not mummified on purpose, but created due to the environment where they were buried. The mummies range in age from newborn to 70 years old. Each mummy is housed in a glass case and displayed either laying down or upright. By each mummy's glass home is the person's first name and a a rendering of what they looked like in life and a description of their life. The renderings are based on forensic science.

No photography of any kind is allowed in the exhibit. At first I did not understand why, but when we entered the room with the mummies (especially the enter sanctum where the babies are placed) it just did not seem right to allow anyone to take photos of these bodies. All the babies were still in their aged white gowns holding their dolls. It was sobering. No one in the room spoke above a whisper.

Most of the adult mummies are females in their 20's or in their 60's. Most of the adult bodies show the signs of living a hard life. Most died of various diseases. There was one mummy that was a young solider that died in battle and was buried in his uniform. I could see the look of concern on my son's face as he looked at the mummy and realized that solders really can die in war.

The Detroit Science Center did a wonderful job humanizing this exhibit. I understand why the Detroit Science Center was able to persuade the Mexican government to allow Detroit to be the 1st stop for this three year exhibition tour.


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