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New mummies exhibition to debut at California Science Center in L.A.

February 17, 2010 | 12:27 pm

Mummyhead "Mummies of the World," a new traveling exhibition featuring more than 150 preserved objects, will kick off its U.S. tour in Los Angeles at the California Science Center. The show is schedule to open July 1.

Organizers of the show said the collection includes ancient mummies and artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America and Europe -- as well as ancient Egypt. In addition, the exhibition features both accidental mummies -- those that were preserved via natural events such as ice -- and those that were intentionally preserved.

The display will include a gallery devoted to Egyptian antiquity containing specimens that date as far back as 6,500 BC. The show will also contain the Capuchin monk mummies, which are on loan from the Museum of The Catacombs of Palermo, Italy.

The exhibition is scheduled to travel to science centers and museums throughout the U.S. for a three-year tour.

"Mummies of the World" is co-organized by American Exhibitions, a company that produces blockbuster-type traveling shows for museums and science centers.

One of the company's past shows experienced some controversy. "Our Body: The Universe Within" featured human remains that had undergone a "plastination" process that preserved them for exhibition purposes.

Some claimed that the body parts on display originated from cadavers of executed Chinese prisoners. The show was co-created with The Universe Within Touring Company, which has disputed the claims. American Exhibitions said it sold its interest in that company in December 2007.

American Exhibitions said in a statement that the specimens featured in "Mummies of the World" will be presented "with reverence and dignity." The exhibition is co-presented by the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim, Germany.

-- David Ng

Photo: A mummified head that is believed to have belonged to a middle-aged man dating from the Roman period. Credit: Reiss-Engelhorn Museums

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