Do mummies make a museum?

As you will have gleaned from a previous post , my 'library' of books is getting a little out of hand.  The converted attic which I lovingly refer to as my study is heaving with all things Ancient Egypt (as well as those 'need to keep in case they come in handy' items).

Feeling a little overwhelmed with stuff, I decided to clear some space (much to Mr R's relief).  Books have now been reduced, old notes have been thrown away and tatty posters have been taken down (although not my treasured photo of Indiana Jones...that stays!)

It's amazing what you come across when you are having a clear-out though.  The process took much longer than it should have because I kept stopping to read old articles and newspaper clippings that I have been keeping over the years.  One piece particularly caught my eye because I remembered that the reason I had kept it was that the subject very nearly became the theme of my undergraduate thesis.

'How to...visit a Museum' by Guy Browning appeared in The Guardian Weekend on 9 April 2005.  Talking about museums as the 'jumble sales of history', Browning went on to say:
'There are three types of museum: natural, transport and historical.  The measure of a really good one is whether it has a tyrannosaurus, Spitfire or mummy respectively.'
Is this now really the case however?  Do people still evaluate an Egyptian mummy with a good museum experience?  In light of recent publicity concerning the display of human remains and the ethics of bodies as artefacts, have we become less inclined to expect to see a mummy in a glass case when we visit the Egyptian area of a museum?

On a recent visit to a museum I was stopped and asked the way to the mummies and the visitor's face fell when told there wasn't any on display...!  The reaction surprised me a little.

I think I will keep that article a little longer...

What do you think?


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