To expand audiences for cultural attractions in grim economic times, why not bring out a corpse or two, preferably from ancient Egypt?
“People who are not necessarily interested in going to museums are all very interested in this,” said Silvia Cubiñá, the executive director of the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, which will unveil two mummies in a new Egyptian gallery on Friday. One, swaddled in crisscrossing fabric, had long been in the museum’s storerooms, and when a local collector found out that it would go on view, he donated another with its coffin, in the shape of a longhaired youth wearing necklaces.
Half a dozen institutions this spring are also bringing out the dead, and marketing them with catchy phrases. “Very Postmortem” is the title of a display of Irethorrou, a 2,500-year-old priest, at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco (on view through Halloween, of course).
On Wednesday the long-term installation “The Mummy Chamber” opens at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Bass Museum has set up a “mummy hotline” (786-343-6341) for show information.
Curators are enlivening the galleries with scientific discoveries: computer screens display CT scans of the skeletons.
Slideshow of the new Egyptian gallery at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami.