I’ll be speaking at the Curious Gallery here in Portland on January 8. (You’d think they invented this event just for me with that name, wouldn’t you?)
Dead Wrong: “Mummy Parties” and Other Shocking Curiosities
Sunday, January 8, 2017
When does curiosity cross the line? From Napoleon’s famous invasion of Egypt to the modern day, fascination with the pharaonic heritage, and particularly with the mummified remains of its people, has been a feature of Western interest in ancient Egypt. Before antiquities laws and the idea of cultural patrimony, anyone could (and did) purchase human remains from Egypt and bring them back home. What happened to those mummies? Some lucky few ended up in museums; far more ended up in less respectful circumstances such as the “mummy unwrapping party” craze in Victorian England, or the use of ground up mummy parts for things like oil paint pigments or locomotive fuel. Join Tamara L. Siuda for a look at the very strange afterlives of the pharaohs and their subjects, and what this history says about modern attitudes toward the deceased, toward culture and ethnicity, and toward scientific research.