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Two Mummies at U of M Art Museum Get New "Digs" University News
For release: May 5, 2010

For press information, contact Dr. Patricia Podzorski, 901-678-2649

The oldest residents of Memphis were recently moved to new, state-of-the-art housing at the University of Memphis. These “residents” are the two mummies that are part of the ancient Egyptian collection of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology (IEAA) at the University of Memphis. They are on display at the University’s Art Museum, Room 142 in the Communication and Fine Arts Building. New cases for the First Intermediate Period (c. 2150-2000 BC) coffin and mummy of Ibui and the Ptolemaic coffin lid, coffin base and mummy of Irtw-irw (c. 300 BC) were secured through a collaborative effort by the community­ and University.

The official dedication of the new exhibit cases will be Wednesday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in the Egyptian Gallery of the Art Museum.

The new, environmentally secure cases were installed in the Egyptian Gallery of AMUM in mid-March. The cases were designed to protect and preserve the coffins and two mummies from the deteriorating effects of dust, humidity and ultraviolet light. After a spirited fundraising campaign, the cases were acquired through a combination of generous donations from The Knapp Foundation, Lucite International, Cope Plastics Inc. of Memphis, and numerous individual supporters of the IEAA.

Also involved in the project were Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Brignole; U of M architecture students Robert Paulus and Melissa Pope; Dr. Waleed Gaber, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine; Michael Guthrie, adjunct faculty in graphic design; and Tim Giles, cabinetmaker.

The coffin and mummy of the priestess of Hathor, Ibui, came to Memphis in 1976 along with 43 other Egyptian antiquities purchased from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston through the generosity of Edward H. Little. This material formed the core of the IEAA’s Ancient Egyptian Collection, which now encompasses some 1,400 objects.

The mummy and brightly painted coffin of Irtw-irw entered the museum collection in 1986. Irtw-irw, who died in his early 30s, probably lived in the area of Akhmim in Middle Egypt some 2,300 years ago.

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