An Egyptian Mummy at Mdina this weekend

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 Sarcophagus portrait
Heritage Malta this weekend will be exhibiting an Egyptian mummy at the National Museum of Natural History in Mdina. The mummy was brought to Malta, together with several other Egyptian artefacts, by Lord Grenfell who was Governor of Malta from 1899 to 1903. The artefacts form part of what is now known as the Grenfell Egyptian Collection.

The items in the collection were first displayed in Malta in 1901 in the newly set up Valletta Museum. The exhibition was organised to coincide with the royal visit of the Duke and Duches of York to Malta. The Egyptian artefacts were exhibited in one of the inner rooms of the building which was reserved for exhibits that do not form part of the history of the islands. Themistocles Zammit, better known as Sir Temi Zammit, was appointed Curator of the exhibition. The exhibition was so successful that it developed into a permanent display, and in 1903 Grenfell was also instrumental in establishing a Committee of Management of the Museum, to manage the new museum, which was housed in the Industrial Hall of the headquarters of the Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in Valletta, located at Palazzo Xara, just opposite St John’s Co-Cathedral.

The Egyptian mummy and its wooden sarcophagus are of late 26th Dynasty. The features are of Nubian or Kushite origin and coincide with the 26th Dynasty (c.a 650 to 550 BC). These people came up from south of Elephantine, nearby present day Aswan.

Mummies are made of bodies of humans that have been preserved by the action of chemicals, extreme cold or very low humidity. Mummies preserved naturally or intentionally have been found throughout the world. The best known mummies come from Egypt where, because of the interest in eternal life, the art of mummification was developed to a very high degree.

The mummy and the rest of the Grenfell collection will be on display this weekend at the National Museum of Natural History in Mdina. The exhibition is being set up as part the events Sundays with Heritage Malta and the Night of the Museum both of which next weekend will be focusing on Rabat and Mdina.

On Saturday the Grenfell Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, together with the Domvs Romana and St Paul’s Catacombs will be open to the public between eight and half past ten in the evening. For the occasion the façade of the Domvs Romana and the Roman remains will be bathed in coloured lights through a collaboration agreement with Studio 7.

The mummy and the rest of the Egyptian collection will also be on display on Sunday between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm. During the day it would be possible to visit the rest of the Natural History Museum as well as the Domvs Romana, St Paul’s Catacombs and the Jewish Catacombs. Behind the Scenes tour will also be held at the National Museum aof Natural History.

The ticket for all the events costs Euro 7 for the general public and Euro 5 for members of Heritage Malta. For more information please visit www.heritagemalta.org.

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