History Museum opens mummy exhibit with 'Member Day' special

The mystery of mummies will finally be laid to rest as the Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma launches “Wrapped!: The Search for the Essential Mummy” on Jan. 30. The immortality-themed exhibit arrives at an interesting time for the museum, as recently proposed state budget cuts have the cultural hub facing the prospect of its own closure. “We appreciate the outcry of support from our community amid the budget talks in Olympia to close the Washington State History Museum,” remarked Dave Nicandri, Director of the Washington State Historical Society that runs the popular museum. “Everyone is asking ‘what can I do to help?’ Purchasing a membership is the best thing anyone can do, either through our regular annual membership or our special Member for a Day. It is a positive way to show support and provide crucial funds to the museum, while also experiencing an incredible exhibit. We remain very optimistic about the museum’s future and its important place in our state’s history and culture.”

A special Member Day on Jan. 29 will give concerned citizens the chance to purchase an annual membership, or a premium “Member for a Day” pass, and enjoy exclusive early access to the exhibit, as well as special one-time-only exhibit programming and events, including photo opportunities with a real camel. Current museum members or those who purchase annual memberships ($35 and up) between now through Jan. 29 will have access to the sneak preview day for no additional charge. The Member for a Day option is only available on Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in which the public can purchase a pass on site to preview the exhibit before it officially opens to the public the next day. Member for a Day passes are $20 for adults and $10 for children and include special presentations and family activities.

Wrapped!: The Search for the Essential Mummy, is a limited-run exhibit on view from Jan. 30 to Sept. 11. The traveling exhibit marries the mystery of ancient Egypt with modern technology, including elaborate sarcophagi, ancient amulets, animal mummies and forensic portraits of ancient Egyptians. The portraits were created through cutting edge technology that allows for the creation of digital imaging to be done of mummy remains without unwrapping them, a process critical to maintaining the dignity of the deceased. The series of forensic portraits gives visitors an opportunity to see what mummified individuals may have looked life in real life.

The Washington State History Museum worked with MultiCare Imaging at Tacoma General Hospital and the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium to have scans made of Ankh-Wennefer, the mummy purchased by colorful local businessman Allen C. Mason in 1891 and donated to the History Museum in 1898.

“We are extremely excited to showcase the story of Allen C. Mason, a well-known businessman in Tacoma in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and his worldly adventures. The show will feature his never-before-exhibited personal photos, letters and passport to ancient sites,” said Nicandri. “All of these items together offer a rare insight into a 19th century globetrotter right from Puget Sound, rounded out by hundreds of other artifacts on loan from public and private collections that recount centuries of fascination with ancient Egypt.”

One-day-only events on Member Preview Day include “The Mummies of Akhmim Egypt” and “Creating Forensic Reconstructions Using Scanning Technology” presentations, kids’ activities, gallery talks and a one of a kind photo opportunity with a live camel! For complete details, visit the museum’s Web site at http://www.WashingtonHistory.org .

“Wrapped!: The Search for the Essential Mummy” exhibit hours are Wednesday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours and free admission every third Thursday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors, age 60 and above; $6 for students and military with valid ID; children, age 5 and below, and members are always free. For more information, call 1-888-BE-THERE or visit http://www.WashingtonHistory.org .

– – – – – – – – – – –

Related Tacoma Daily Index coverage:

Tacoma City Council pushes to save Wash. State History Museum — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1902998&more=0

Tacoma Mayor’s resolution aims to keep Washington State History Museum open — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1901532&more=0

Is History Museum History? Governor’s budget proposal would close state museum in Tacoma — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1893567&more=0

Washington State Heritage Caucus: A legislative voice for historic preservation — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1694361&more=0 or http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_heritage_caucus.pdf

Definitely Famous: Museum exhibit gathers state icons under one roof — http://wahmee.com/tdi_washington_icons.pdf