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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Mummies exhibit coming to a close



mummyheads.jpgIf you haven't checked out the Mummies of the World exhibit yet at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, time is running out as the exhibit gets ready to pack up the bandages after a successful stay at its only Florida stop. If you go tonight (Friday) there is also a food truck rally going on at MOSI from 7 to 11 p.m., so you can catch up with this hot foodie trend as well.

Some people have asked me if this might be too scary for kids, with haunting images of shriveled flesh and sunken stares. I certainly had that concern when I escorted a group of third graders to the exhibit when it first arrived four months ago I wondered if the thought of these being actual human beings would have creeped the kids out. But it wasn't really an issue with our group. It helps that there are several interactive kiosks where kids can find out what a mummy feels like or see 3D images of the high-tech scans scientists used to find out what the mummies died of or how old they were.

And their favorite was a kiosk on decay that had pictures of a plate of strawberries, a Halloween pumpkin and a dead rabbit and the kids turn a dial to see them get moldy, shrivel up, and a dead rabbit's belly slow extending and then deflating as the flesh whithers away. It was extremely gross ... and they LOVED it.

mummymonkey.jpgMy only caution for some parents is that this involves a lot of reading. That's not a bad thing, of course. Every stop has a lot of information about the person or animal on display (like this mummy monkey at right from Argentina),  how old they were and what they know about them and how they became mummified. My science-geek 9 year old read every word and loved it, but some of the kids got tired of all the reading and kind of zoomed through the exhibit. For this reason, it might be better suited for older kids or ones who are very interested in science.

This mummy exhibit is a rarity because it involves 21 different museums from around the world, making it the largest exhibition of real human and animal mummies and related artifacts ever assembled. It's an incredible array of mummies and artifacts, and they come from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe and ancient Egypt.  The oldest on display is a Peruvian child in a remarkable state of preservation that carbon dating revealed to be nearly 6,500 years old — about 3,000 years older than King Tut.

It will remain on display through Sept. 9. Tonight's Mummies After Dark event with the food truck gives you a chance to see it extra-creepy at night. Admission is $18.95, $16.95 seniors, $12.95 for ages 2-12. It's another $5 after that to visit the rest of MOSI's expansive exhibits. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave. Tampa.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, August 31, 2012 3:09pm]


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