It's a new era for Mummy Stories as we bring you a large-scale collaboration with Dr Katie Clary from Coastal Carolina University in the USA and her students. Dr Katie Clary has been a fierce supporter of Mummy Stories, sharing two stories for our project, and is herself a Death and human remains researcher, working on a handbook that is sure to be a game-changer. I am delighted to host the stories coming to Mummy Stories on this platform, shaping a new international collaboration, that puts student voices at the heart of the conversation on human remains in museums. Here are a few words from Dr Katie Clary on this project. Thank you for continuing to support Mummy Stories into its sixth years.
From Dr Katie Clary
In the Spring 2022 semester, I had the absolute joy to teach Ancient Egyptian History at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, USA for the third time. Each semester is influenced by what is going on in the world, and 2022 ended up being the year of mummies.
Throughout the term, we studied Ancient Egyptian people from the Neolithic through the Late Period through art, architecture, landscapes, historical records, and even human remains. As we discussed mummies and mummification and the religion of Ancient Egyptian people, my students had a variety of opinions on the treatment, use, and display of these bodies by museums and others.
I assigned my students Case Studies throughout the semester, and our last one, Case Study 4, was on individuals whose remains are remarkable in some way: The Mysterious Lady in Warsaw, The Younger Lady, the KV55 mummy, and Nesyamun to name a few. Students gave short group presentations on their individual and answered the following questions:
1. Who is your mummy? (Where are they from, class, gender, anything of importance)
2. Where are they now? How did they get there?
3. How have science and history used this body for more information?
4. Is the body on display? Where? Should it be there or somewhere else?
5. Any other ethical considerations?
These presentations led to so much thought-provoking discussion about Egyptian mummies and human remains in general. Since this is my main area of research currently, I was thrilled that my class was engaged in this topic and making connections to our world and humanity today. We spent an entire class talking about these individuals and the ethics surrounding bodies:
· What do YOU think should happen to these bodies?
· Where should they be?
· How should they be treated?
· Who should decide? Why them?
· What do you think THEY would want? Why?
I was thrilled that my class was engaged in this topic and making connections to our world and humanity today.
The next assignment for my students was to read entries on the Mummy Stories website and then write their own Mummy Stories about either their case study individual, or another mummy they had encountered. I was so pleased with their results, I encouraged them all to think about submitting to the website for publication. Many of them took me up on this offer, and I am thrilled that you will see many of their stories and their work over the coming weeks.
I hope you enjoy reading my students’ work and learning from them as much as I did!
Dr. Katie Stringer Clary is an Assistant Professor of History, Public History at Coastal Carolina University in the USA. Her current work focuses on death and human remains in a museums, and a co-edited volume on this topic titled Museums, Heritage, and Death is forthcoming with Routledge. She has worked with museums, exhibitions, and education for over a decade, and she enjoys teaching the next generation of public historians and museum professionals.
 Read more about my class on my website! https://katiestringerclary.com/2022/04/16/teaching-ancient-egypt-2022/  Stringer Clary, Katie. “Human Remains in Museums Today” in The American Association for State and Local History, History News Quarterly, Fall 2018; Under Contract. Stringer Clary, Katie and Trish Biers, eds. Museums, Heritage, and Death. Routledge Companion Series. Oxford: Routledge, TBD. ; Under Contract. Stringer Clary, Katie. “Historical Contexts of Bodies, Display, and Spectacle.” in Museums, Heritage and Death. Routledge Companion Series. Oxford: Routledge, TBD. Read more at: https://katiestringerclary.com/2021/06/03/death-and-museums/