Toledo Museum exhibit puts mummies in a new light

(Photo courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art)


The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is once more displaying the two Egyptian mummies that launched the Museum’s early collection and have fascinated visitors for more than a century. The exhibition explores how TMA acquired Young Priest (ca. 800 BCE, Third Intermediate Period) and Old Man (ca. 100 CE, Roman Period), their historical significance in the Museum and the phenomenon of Egyptomania – Western civilization’s interest and obsession with ancient Egypt during the 19th- and 20th-centuries. The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo is a rare opportunity to see the mummies, alongside other ancient Egyptian artifacts, and is on view exclusively at TMA from Feb. 3 through May 6.

“We want to offer the public an opportunity to consider the various questions that arise today regarding the collecting that occurred in Egypt over 100 years ago, and what these objects mean in today’s context,” said Brian Kennedy, the museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director, President and CEO .

The exhibition is co-curated by Adam Levine, deputy director, and Mike Deetsch, the Emma Leah Bippus director of education and engagement. The exhibition is organized into three thematic sections: the rise of Egyptomania beginning with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in the late 18th-century; ancient Egyptian religion and the afterlife; and burial practice, human remains and the humanization of an ancient civilization.

The exhibition places the mummies in historical context by including additional Egyptian objects and artifacts from the TMA collection as well as loans from other institutions and private collections. Memorabilia from the Libbeys’ travels to Egypt will be on display along with examples of Egyptomania portraying ancient Egypt in film, art and advertising.

Related programming includes a Saturday matinee film series titled “He Went for a Little Walk: Mummies in the Movies” which runs Feb. 17 through May 5. The films all begin at 2 p.m. in the Little Theater. Tickets are free for members and $5 for nonmembers (discounts available with ticket bundles).

From March 8 through 10, guests can participate in the “Mummies by Moo-Light” Flashlight Tours. Tours begin at 9 p.m. on Thursday andFriday and 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, with a pre-reception taking place in the Green Room one hour prior to the tours. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Two exhibition-related Master’s Series will be held in the spring. On Thursday, March 29, Bob Brier (a.k.a. Mr. Mummy) will lead a discussion titled “Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs” in the Peristyle at 6 p.m. AIA-Toledo Society and TMA will co-host an appearance by Dr. Salima Ikram on Thursday, April 19. Her lecture, “May They Live Forever: Ancient Egyptian Mummies,” will begin at 6 p.m. in the Peristyle. Both events are free and open to the public. The Masters Series is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors.

For additional information about the exhibition’s related programming or to reserve tickets for the film series or flashlight tours,

Admission to the exhibition is free for Museum members and $10 for nonmembers. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, college students and military personnel ($7) and youth ages 5-17 ($5). Admission for school groups is free.

       The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo is supported in part by Block Communications Inc., KeyBank, Taylor Cadillac, and the Ohio Arts Council, with additional support from the 2018 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica.