This morning, The Leonardo museum brought in their latest attraction—thousands of years in the making.
Preserved mummies for the Mummies of the World exhibition arrived today in full entourage. It resembled a presidential following complete with Utah Highway Patrol escort and black SUVs full of VIPs and security personnel dressed in black garb and sunglasses. The chosen vehicle for the mummies themselves was a full-size, climate-controlled silver semi-trailer. The spectacle was fitting for the mystery, legend and celebrity status garnered by this exhibition over the last few years.
The star power lies in the unique journey it took for Mummies of the World to get to the Leonardo, a rags to riches or basement to penthouse story if you will. It started out as an obscure 20 specimen re-discovery in the basements of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Germany. It became a world wide attraction by utilizing modern technology and cutting-edge scientific methods that provide very detailed information about who and what these specimens really were. So the story doesn't just begin today or 10 years ago; the many miles these mummies traveled predates the 21st century by hundreds and thousands of years.
A true mix of the new and old makes this exhibition a living and breathing testament of humanity's history.
Executive Director of The Leonardo Alexandra Hesse signs the loan agreement next to Marc Corwin, president American Exhibitions, Inc.
The exhibition was outlined at a short press conference in the museum lobby, where Executive Director at The Leonardo Alexandra Hesse, signed the loan agreement for the collection. She said the exhibition was important because the tools of science and technology can now "unlock the stories about people of the past."
The public must wait until Feb. 16 to see the stars of the exhibit in full display. The mummies arrived in specially-designed crates that control the mummies' environment. Careful packaging incorporated modern mummification materials such as foam and acid free, waterproof and tear-proof paper that cocooned each of the specimens inside. Continued preservation is necessary in order for them to remain intact. After all, natural or intentional preservation methods preserved them for hundreds and thousands of years. What's just a few days more?
The mystery didn't lessen the star appeal at all. Even though there wasn't a red carpet, photographers clicked away and a small crowd watched as crates were wheeled into a secret entrance.
The mummies were carefully unloaded in crates by a large staff.
Mummy crates were wheeled into a side entrance at The Leonardo.
The public, yet private, arrival of this exhibition reflects the choice of Salt Lake City as the next host.
After starting out in bigger cities, the focus shifted to smaller markets where the exhibition could be the main focus in the community. Marc Corwin, president of American Exhibitions, Inc., said Salt Lake was among the cities chosen for this exhibition because "the people of Salt Lake embrace this museum." He also lauded The Leonardo's efforts to incorporate innovative thinking, knowledge, education and science into its exhibitions.
As a young museum, the dedication The Leonardo has shown in bringing these important exhibits to Salt Lake in its infancy is sure to continue during its maturity in years to come.
"Mummies of the World" runs Feb. 16–May 27, 2013 at the Leonardo Museum in downtown, Salt Lake City.