History unwrapped at mummy museums


Amy Bizzarri


Unwrap the mysteries of ancient Egypt by setting off to discover some of Chicago's very own mummies.

Before heading out, brief your kids on mummies. Explain that a mummy is the body of a person or animal that has been preserved after death. The ancient Egyptians preserved bodies with special chemicals (embalming) or by natural means (drying out the body) to prepare them for the journey to a new life that they believed took place after death.

Check out some mummy reads from your local library: Mummies by Joyce Milton is suitable for readers in grades 1-3 and offers an introduction to the topic, accompanied by eye-catching illustrations. Outside and Inside Mummies by Sandra Markle is a macabre look inside mummies and explains the wide use of CT scans, electron microscopes and DNA analysis in the field of archeology.

Twenty-three authentic mummies await your family at the Field Museum's Inside Ancient Egypt permanent exhibit. Explore a life-size Egyptian tomb with 5,000-year-old hieroglyphics. Experience ancient Egyptian life by visiting a marketplace and testing out a typical bed. Dip a bucket into the Nile River. Step into the shrine of Bastet, the cat goddess. Check out the mummy-making diorama to better understand the mummification process.

Join the Oriental Institute Museum, on the campus of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, for Mummies Night! from 6-8 p.m., Oct. 28, for a "tombful" of family fun. The Oriental Institute Museum is a smaller scale museum that explores the history, art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. Visit the galleries to see up close mummies that are thousands of years old, test your knowledge with a laboratory mummy, view a short film, "Mummies Made in Egypt," and learn how CT scans unveil what lies beneath the mummy wrappings.

Inside Ancient Egypt 
• The Field Museum
• 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 
• (312) 922-9410
• www.fieldmuseum.org

Mummies Night!
• Oriental Institute Museum
• 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago
• (773) 702-9514
• www.oi.uchicago.edu


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