Saturday, 7 June 2008

Manchester Museum Egyptian remains consultation

Manchester Museum are consulting the public about the display of Egyptian mummies.

You can contribute your views on their blog.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

I do not think the mummies should be covered, though perhaps they could be displayed with “restricted visual access” as is often the case in ritual settings.

I personally find the display of dead flesh a bit icky (though I have no problem with the display of bones), but this is definitely an “ick” response and I definitely do not feel that the mummies have been profaned or anything.

Museums are derived from the Greek word “Museion” (temple of the Muses) so as far as I am concerned they are sacred space, dedicated to knowledge and wonder. Therefore the mummies are displayed in a sacred space.

By displaying the ancient dead and recovering their stories and their lifeways, they are being rescued from oblivion and remembered - another form of immortality. Therefore I do feel that any display of human remains should be accompanied by an attempt to reconstruct their story (similar to the TV series Meet the Ancestors).

Also, the ontological status of the dead is not the same as that of the living. They do not have rights; we have responsibilities to them (but that is not the same thing).