SOURCE: California Science Center

California Science Center

April 29, 2010 15:35 ET

Mummies of the World Exhibition Makes World Premiere in Los Angeles July 1, 2010

American Exhibitions, Inc. Brings the Largest-Ever Traveling Exhibition of Mummies to the California Science Center for a Limited Time

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - April 29, 2010) -  A 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru, one the oldest mummies ever discovered, joins an astonishing collection of mummies and related artifacts in the extraordinary exhibition Mummies of the World, which makes its world premiere at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on July 1, 2010.

Mummies of the World is the largest traveling exhibition ever assembled of mummies and artifacts, featuring 150 never-before-seen real human and animal mummies and objects from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceana, and Egypt. Showcasing state-of-the-art science tools and techniques, this groundbreaking exhibition bridges the gap between past and present, showing how science can shed light on the history of people and cultures around the world. It also demonstrates that mummification -- both through natural processes and intentional practices -- has taken place all over the globe, from the hot desert sands of South America to remote European moors and bogs.

The treasures presented in Mummies of the World include one of the oldest mummy infants ever discovered; the first-ever presentation of an entire mummified family; a German nobleman discovered by his own descendants; and Egyptian animal mummies, ritually preserved to accompany royals for eternity.

  • The Detmold Child is a Peruvian child mummy in a remarkable state of preservation, radiocarbon dated to 4504-4457 B.C. -- more than 3,000 years before the birth of King Tut. A recent CT scan investigation reveals details about the child's age, health and cause of death. It is on loan from the Lippisches Landesmuseum in Detmold, Germany.
  • The Orlovits family was part of a group of 18th-century mummies discovered in a long-forgotten church crypt in Vác, Hungary in 1994. Michael and Veronica Orlovits and their son Johannis were among those preserved by the cool, dry air and oil from the pine boards used to build their coffins. Extensive research including DNA analysis offers answers about their conditions and cause of death. They are on loan from the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest.
  • Baron von Holz is a 17th-century nobleman believed to have died in Sommersdorf, Germany during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). He was discovered in the family crypt of the von Crailsheim family's late 14th-century castle, still wearing his top boots. CT scans revealed clues about his anatomy, age, and approximate date of birth and death. Baroness Schenck von Geiern, another von Crailsheim ancestor, was found in the family crypt. Loaned by Dr. Manfred Baron von Crailsheim, Sommersdorf.
  • Egyptian animal mummies are elaborately wrapped in painted linen bandaging, holding fascinating clues to life and death in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian cat mummies in this exhibition date to the Ptolemic period, and show how Egyptian cats were ritually embalmed in a lengthy process using salt and various resins. These mummies are on loan from various museums in Germany.

"Mummies of the World offers an incredible opportunity to explore the lives and cultures of people from around the world," says Marc Corwin, president of American Exhibitions, Inc. "Human beings have a powerful desire to learn about our past and to identify with our common history. Using technology and the tools of modern forensic science to study these rare treasures adds an even more exciting layer of discovery."

The concept began with the German Mummy Project's re-discovery of 20 specimens within the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums of Mannheim, Germany in 2004. A consortium of mummy researchers used DNA analysis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), radiocarbon dating and mass spectrometry to learn more, and engaged the cooperation of 15 world-renowned museums in seven countries to make this innovative exhibition possible.

As a result, Mummies of the World is a fascinating mix of old and new, including engaging interactive multimedia exhibits that illustrate how current science tools enable us to study mummies in new and non-invasive ways, allowing unprecedented insights to past cultures and civilizations.

"This exhibition represents an extraordinary blend of science and history -- a great fit for the California Science Center," says Jeffrey Rudolph, President of the California Science Center. "It's a great example of how cutting-edge, hands-on science can give us a better understanding of both the past and the present, and of how nature and culture have come together all over the world. We're excited to be the home of this world premiere, and for Los Angeles audiences to be the first to see it."

The exhibition was prepared in accordance with all recommendations of the International Council of Museums' (ICOM) code of ethics. The participating organizations include: Ägyptisches Museum, Bonn, Germany; Archäologisches Landesmuseum, Schleswig, Germany; Deutsches Museum, München, Germany; The Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany; Geologisch-Palaeontologisches Institut und Museum, Münster, Germany; Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, Hungary; Institute of Egyptology, Heidelberg, Germany; Lippisches Landesmuseum, Detmold, Germany; Musées Jurassien, Delémont, Switzerland; The Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel, Switzerland; Naturhistorisches Museum, Nürnberg, Germany; Naturkunde Museum, Bozen, Italy; Naturkundemuseum, Kassel, Germany; Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany; Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum, Braunschweig, Germany; Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany; Thüringisches Landesamt f. Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Weimar, Weimar/Jena, Germany; Private Collection of Charles Schouwenbourg, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; and Eve-Maria Zimmermann, Teneriffa, San Miguel de Abona.

More information about the exhibition is available online: www.mummiesoftheworld.com.

American Exhibitions, Inc. produces world-class touring exhibitions for science centers and museums that physically, intellectually and emotionally excite, educate and engage visitors. As a longstanding member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Association of Museums (AAM), American Exhibitions, Inc. is one of the leading exhibit producers in the United States. http://www.americanexhibitions.com

Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, an internationally acclaimed complex in Mannheim, Germany, has been one of the major venues for exhibitions in Europe in the realms of archeology and world cultures. With a collection that began in the early 1700s, the museum houses more than 1.2 million objects in its collection, comprising over 300,000 square feet of exhibition space. http://www.rem-mannheim.de/

The California Science Center's mission is as follows: "We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives."

The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission to Science Center exhibits is free. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323-SCIENCE (323-724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $4.75 to $8.00. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213-744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive at $8 per car, $10 for school buses and $25 for commercial buses or oversize vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

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