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Unwrap mummy mysteries at Maryland Science Center


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Photo by Erin Klema. "Mummies of the World: The Exhibit" makes its final stop at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The exhibit runs through Jan. 20.

Photo by Erin Klema. "Mummies of the World: The Exhibit" makes its final stop at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The exhibit runs through Jan. 20.

Published on: Wednesday, October 02, 2013

By Erin Klema

Unravel the mysteries of ancient civilizations right in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The Maryland Science Center presents a limited engagement of “Mummies of the World: The Exhibition” through Jan. 20. The exhibit is the largest collection of mummies and artifacts ever assembled, and the Baltimore museum is the final destination of its three-year, nine-city tour.

 “When people think of mummies, they think of Egypt and King Tut,” said Marcus Corwin, president and CEO of Mummies of the World Touring Company, at a VIP preview last Thursday.

But, “Mummies of the World” is an interactive and educational multimedia exhibit featuring mummies from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe and, of course, ancient Egypt.

Get wrapped up in the world of mummies

Visitors will learn how the Egyptians mummified their deceased and will see the tools used in the process. They will experience firsthand what embalmed skin and dried flesh feel like to touch. And, of course, museum-goers will see mummies — of humans and animals, children and adults.

Take an inside look at the exhibit

“The exhibition reveals how the scientific study of mummies provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations,” states an exhibit pamphlet.

From CT scans of a 6,500-year-old mummy, scientists concluded the Peruvian child was 8-10 months old and had a heart defect and a lung infection. Another mummy, discovered headless in a peat bog, was determined to have died between late summer and early fall because of the contents of the woman’s last meal — blackberries were found in her stomach.

Some of the mummies are only partial remains because Egyptian mummies were often broken into parts and sold to tourists as souvenirs. But, one mummy was preserved well enough that the hieroglyphics adorning the linen wrapped around the small Egyptian child from 20 B.C. are still visible.

Tales from the crypt

While the ancient Peruvians and Egyptians intentionally mummified the dead, some deceased humans and animals were mummified by natural causes.

In 1806, the mummified body of Baron von Holz, a German nobleman who died during the Thirty Years War in the 1600s, was discovered in the family crypt at Sommersdorf Castle. He and four others in the castle were naturally preserved, according to the exhibit. Visitors will see the brand new riding boots he wore appear remarkably kept.

Explore more than mummies

While at the Maryland Science Center, stargaze in the planetarium, dig for dinosaur fossils, walk into a replica of a human heart chamber, watch a movie on the IMAX screen – “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs” is in 3-D — or take a break at the Beakers Café.

Outside the science museum, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is full of activities fit for all ages. First-time Baltimore visitors can sightsee from a harbor cruise. Sports fans can see the Baltimore Ravens or Orioles in action and even take a behind-the-scenes tour of nearby Camden Yards. For history buffs, check out the USS Constellation or take a water taxi to Fort McHenry.

Plan your visit

The Maryland Science Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Parking is available in nearby garages. The center validates parking at Arrow Parking Garage and at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Garage on E. Lee Street.

The museum recommends purchasing tickets for “Mummies of the World: The Exhibit” in advance. Tickets can be reserved by calling 410-685-2370 or at marylandsciencecenter.org. Discounted tickets are available for Maryland Science Center members. On Mummy Mondays, entry into the exhibit is only $12 for children ages 3 to 12 and $15 for adults ages 13 and older. The Mummy Monday admission is exclusively for “Mummies of the World: The Exhibition.”

Erin Klema is a travel blogger at Where Erin Goes.

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