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The Science Museum of Minnesota’s Egyptian mummy was donated to the museum in 1925 by Mr. and Mrs. S.P. Crosby of St. Paul. At the time, mummies were sold in Cairo, Egypt, as souvenirs, and most established museums had at least one in their collection. The popular sentiment was that any reputable museum needed to have a mummy, and the Crosby’s wanted their town’s young museum to be among them. Since its donation, the mummy has appeared on local network television, had a play written about it, and been the subject of several scientific research projects that included CAT scans and endoscopy, in addition to being one of the museum’s most popular and enduring attractions.Curator’s pick
I selected the Museum’s Egyptian mummy as one of the 100 Objects because it has become an icon for the museum and a major attraction for many in our audiences. It has also been one of the museum’s most controversial figures. Many people are fascinated by literally coming face to face with a person from the ancient past; others have been dismayed that we would place a mummified body on display. We are sensitive to both viewpoints and try to address both concerns. Ultimately, the mummy raises more questions in most people than answers, whether scientific, historic, or ethical. It is that kind of curiosity and public engagement that the Science Museum has always inspired and cultivated through our collections.