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Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato to make debut in Detroit

DETROIT, June 11, 2009: They were miners, fathers, soldiers, farmers and children. They are revered by their descendents and have been visited by millions. They are rare, shocking…and completely accidental.

Now, for the first time ever, they are coming to the United States in an all-new touring exhibition, The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato.

The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato is a 10,000 square-foot exhibition that will debut at the Detroit Science Center in October 2009 before touring six other U.S. destinations from 2010-2012.

Featuring 36 accidental mummies on loan from the Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, the exhibition combines science, history and cultural anthropology to immerse the visitor in the world of a Mexican city over 100 years ago where deceased residents naturally mummified in their crypts. This will be the very first time these mummies have been seen outside of Mexico

“Death has been part of the culture of Mexico, and in particular of Guanajuato for centuries. Our Mummy Museum represents our way of acknowledging the every day citizens that once walked our streets, whose bodies have transcended generations because of a natural process,” said Dr. Eduardo Romero Hicks, Mayor of the city of Guanajuato, Mexico.

“This presentation for the first time in the U.S. provides the opportunity for these mummies to tell their story, to show the way they lived, and in some instances the way they died. In this global world that we live in, we want to make sure that their story is heard beyond our borders.”

“These mummies have attracted millions of visitors to Guanajuato and it is an honor to bring them to the United States,” said Kevin Prihod, President & CEO of the Detroit Science Center. “This exhibition will present a unique look into Mexican culture, forensic science and the very lives of these amazing mummies. It is an experience not to be missed.”

Only 1 in 100 bodies buried in Guanajuato experiences this rare and mysterious process of natural mummification. Unlike bodies that were “artificially” mummified through an embalming and wrapping process, accidental mummies form only in certain climates and conditions.

Local legend held that the bodies in Guanajuato became mummified because the area’s water is rich in minerals and sulfur. However researchers believe that the hot weather warmed the crypts and dried out the bodies.

The Guanajuato collection is believed to be the largest group of mummies anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.

Visitors to the exhibition will meet some of these accidental mummies, learn about life in their thriving community, discover the modern-day forensic technology that helps scientists analyze them, and explore a culture that reveres and celebrates them.

Each mummy will tell his or her own story, with facial reconstructions completed by a forensic artist to give insight into their lives.

“Through full-body CT scans at Oakwood Imaging Center (Dearborn, Mich.), along with recent x-rays and endoscopic examinations conducted by mummy experts Jerry Conlogue and Ronald Beckett of Quinnipiac University, we are making new and exciting discoveries about the mummies featured in the exhibition.

We look forward to sharing our findings with our visitors,” said Vivian Henoch, Medical Science Content Developer for the exhibition. 

The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato is a highly educational exhibition, meeting multiple objectives found in the National Science Education Standards for grades 5-12. A complete educational guide including classroom activities, historical fun facts, a glossary and more will be available to school groups visiting the exhibition.

For further information, including an interactive tour of the exhibition, please visit accidentalmummies.com. Tickets for the Detroit tour stop will go on sale in Fall 2009.

The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato is produced by Eekstein’s Workshop, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Detroit Science Center that creates captivating, durable, engaging exhibits and displays for museum and corporate clients, in association with Accidental Mummies Touring Company LLC.

Editor’s Note: The Detroit Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires its visitors to pursue and support careers in engineering, technology and science. The Science Center features five theaters, including Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre, the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium, the Toyota Engineering Theater, the DTE Energy Sparks Theater and the Chrysler Science Stage; a 9,000 square-foot Science Hall for traveling exhibits; hands-on exhibit galleries focusing on space, life and physical science; the United States Steel Fun Factory; an exhibit gallery just for pint-size scientists; and a Special Events Lobby. For more information, please call 313.577.8400 or visit the website, http://www.detroitsciencecenter.org.






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