The Bio Bank team travelled to the World Museum, Liverpool, today to record the animal mummies in the collection and add to our ‘wish list’ of objects for the exhibition. We spent the day in the stores with curator, Dr. Ashley Cooke, completing recording forms for the extensive collection based on macroscopic assessment. A complete photographic investigation was also conducted alongside measurements and full descriptions. In total, there were once over 90 animal mummies; however, sadly some were lost during the Blitz. Of particular interest are the cat mummies which arrived in the infamous shipment in the early 1900s from Egypt used as ballast on the ship and later put to use for a whole range of weird and wonderful purposes! We hope that these cats will feature in the exhibition alongside the archival material associated with their arrival.
As we trawled through the spreadsheets of information, we located a number of mummies which we hope will be on display during the exhibition based on the project. Many of these mummies will be on public display for the first time because we want visitors to get a feel for the range of material in museum stores around the county. Some of these mummies will require conservation treatment before they can be placed on display, but this will be to stabilise rather than repair them. Interesting, we also found a number of mummies which look very similar to others we already have in the database from other museums around the country, potentially providing provenance and enabling comparison between individual workshops and craftsmen.
We didn’t manage to record all the mummies in one day so a further research visit has been planned for the end of the month to complete the project and finalise the object list. We would like to thank Ashley for his time and support of the project and we look forward to working closely with him as the curator of one of the host museums.