Located in Shawnee, OK, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art houses the only ancient Egyptian mummies in Oklahoma. Tutu, one of the mummies, was kind enough to answer some questions about ancient Egyptian life.
How old are you?
Records weren’t really kept well back in my day but I am about 2,400 years old.
What can you tell us about your life before you became a mummy?
I was wealthy and had a great life. I had at least one child and lived to be in my 40’s which was a long full life in my day.
Can you describe the mummification process and its significance to ancient Egyptians?
Back in my time, we believed that you would need your body in the afterlife. Therefore, it was important that it be preserved. Mummification was a process that took well over 100 days to complete. My brain was removed and then discarded as we didn’t think it was an important organ. Then my internal organs were removed, dried, wrapped in linen and then placed back inside my body. My body was dried with salt and then wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen bandages. In my time, people would save linen their entire life so that it could be used to mummify them after they died.
I would have had everything I needed in the afterlife in my tomb. Some things would be real, like food and jewelry. Other things like servants would be representational. The amount of wealth you had in life determined how much you would have in your tomb.
I heard that you used to terrify freshmen at St. Gregory’s University.
Many years ago, the museum was in the main building at St. Gregory’s University. My sister mummy and I were sometimes used as pranks to scare the students. It was great fun. I’m too old for that now.
What was it like undergoing an MRI at the local hospital?
I think going to St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital for my CT scan was one of the coolest things ever! A company from Fort Worth, Nerwin & Martin, sent three art moving experts to help get me there. There was also a forensic anthropologist from the University of Tulsa and Egyptologist Omar Zuhdi there to help. I was taken there in a climate controlled container and even had an escort from the Shawnee police department.
The radiology staff at the St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital were the best. Radiologist Dr. Ryan Skinner did a full report of the results and scientists at the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium are still studying the results of the scan.
I’m one of the first mummies to have this level of imaging. For many years I will be the base line of information as the other mummies are studied! That means if a mummy similar to me in Europe or Egypt or anywhere in the world has a CT scan, scientists will compare the results with me.
Where can people visit you?
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is located at 1900 W MacArthur St, Shawnee, OK 74804. For more information visit https://goo.gl/wZ0Agv or call 405-878-5300.