A Passion for Mummy Stories

February 6, 2017

When I was 16 years old, I interned at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where I had spent many hours, visiting the Egyptian galleries. I was so curious about how visitors engaged with the Egyptian collection that, at 18, I got my first job there as a Gallery Attendant. 




As I was spending long days wandering in the many galleries of the museum, it came to my attention that there was only one Egyptian mummy on display at the museum (at the time, the Roman and Coptic galleries were closed): the mummy of Pachéri . Even when the Roman and Coptic galleries reopened, the mummy of Padiimenipet was still missing. There were rumors in the museum that some mummies had been buried in the garden, and that Padiimenipet would never come back on display. 

I spent many lunchtime hours exploring the history of the museum, and fell in love with the history of mummy collecting. Even more so, I was intrigued by the fascination others had for Egyptian mummies, and how the mysterious aura of Egyptian mummies led to some rather creative stories! As I recently uncovered during archive research in Paris, mummies were indeed buried in the garden but this dates back to 1827. As for Padiimenipet, he is resting in the storage of the museum.

Angela Stienne is a 3rd year PhD student at the School of Museum Studies in Leicester (UK) researching the history of engagements with mummies in Paris and London between 1754 and 1855. She is particularly interested in racially-motivated dissections of mummies, the history of the mummy collection at the Louvre, and the ethical issues in the display of human remains in museums.


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