Mummies of the World

Largest exhibit of mummies now traveling the U.S.

I held my breath as we made it to the front of the line. My heart was pounding with apprehension. I was about to enter the World of Mummies!

Mummies of the World made its World Premiere on July 1, 2010. Since then, it has become one of the most successful paid exhibits at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. I was given an exclusive tour of the exhibit by Jarrod Miller-Dean, California Science Center Communications coordinator.

Inside the exhibit, it was grave and eerie at times. Though there were many people inside the museum with me, I felt very alone.

Soon, I realized that the mummies weren’t so scary after all. They were displayed with dignity and respect and that came across in the exhibition.

The exhibition includes 45 human and animal mummies. They come from museums in South America, Europe, Oceania, Asia, and Egypt.

“We want people to understand that mummies don’t come just from Ancient Egypt,” said Diane Perlov, California Science Center senior vice president for exhibits. “We also want people to learn more about science tools that let scientists study mummies without destroying them.”

Jarrod pointed out to me that many mummies in the exhibit are natural mummies. The Detmold Child, a Peruvian child mummy that dates to 6,420 years ago, really grabbed my attention. I could see what it looked like when it died.

I asked Ms. Perlov which mummy she thought was the most fascinating.

“To me, one of the most fascinating ones are the mummies from Hungary,” she replied. “For example, the Orlovits Family, who suffered from tuberculosis.”

Michael, Veronica, and son Johannes Orlovits were 18th century mummies found in a church in Hungary. I thought they were interesting because they were wearing their “Sunday best,” or their church clothes.

Mummies of the World fascinated me. I devoured every bit of information I could. I came out of the exhibition feeling awed and amazed. I realized that what we know about mummies isn’t all in the past. What we have learned through mummies may help us eliminate deadly diseases in the future.

“Scientists can go inside the mummies and extract the DNA,” said Diane Perlov. “Then they can try to find some medicine that is resistant to diseases like tuberculosis.”

Mummies of the World began a three-year tour in the U.S. this month. Check for more information.

You can also check out my video interview with Ms. Perlov, which includes a closer look at some of the actual mummies!

©Scholastic Inc. First published online at



About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on January 12, 2011, in Interview Videos, Interviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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