‘They wanted to be immortal’: Mummies have stories to tell at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) will host six mummies from overseas in an effort to educate Montrealers on ancient Egyptian life, death and the afterlife.
“They wanted to be immortal,” said Laura Vigo, curator of Asian art and archaeology at the MMFA. “So in a way the fact that they actually managed to travel to us like rock stars. It is actually kind of a way of immortalizing them.”
The MMFA is preparing to unveil a new exhibit titled Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives in September. After running in Australia and China, the exhibit from the British Museum is making its North American debut.
The interactive exhibit will delve into different themes such as magic, music, gods and infancy.
“We will talk about mummification: the mummification process and how it was carried out, who were the agents in the process, what was the importance in mummification and how that evolved,” said Vigo.
Caroline Barton, collection manager at the British Museum, says the technologies used on the archaeological finds are groundbreaking.
“On certain scans you can go so deep, you can see the contents of their stomachs,” said Barton. “On some examples — what was their last meals? Things like that, which 10 to 15 years ago we could have never comprehended that we could do things of that standard.”
Vigo believes ancient Egyptian finds are crucial to our growth as a society.
“It makes us realize that we’re not that much different, that we can actually learn about the past to understand the present and foresee the future,” she said.
The star mummy of the show, Nestawedjat, is a rare find, according to Barton.
“We have the opportunity, that we have not only her but her inner coffin that she would’ve been buried in, the middle coffin that that coffin would’ve been buried in and a very large decorated outer coffin,” she said.
The exhibit will run from Sept. 14 to Feb. 2, 2020.
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