In March, my family and I went to see the Mummies of the World Exhibit at Discovery Place in Charlotte. We made a day of it, even packing a picnic lunch which we ate outside in a small courtyard area on Tryon Street. Our tickets included an IMAX movie (and the experience of that HUGE, surrounding screen thrilled Luke!) and admission to the rest of the museum, including an aquarium area where the kids were mesmerized by sea horses, an octopus, and shrimp.
We found the Mummies exhibit fascinating. Mummification can occur naturally or intentionally and includes animals as well as people. For a body to be considered mummified, it must contain original skin and/or organs. The collection included mummies from Europe, Africa, ancient Egypt, South America, and the South Pacific.
We saw several animals on display, including a squirrel mummified in an attic for many years, a 500 year old, still-furry dog preserved in a bog, and a monkey from Argentina found with a feathered head dress. The focus of the exhibit were the people, real people with real stories. We saw a 6,400 year old child so well preserved that scientists could conclude from cat scans and MRI’s that he had died from a heart defect. Also on display was an 18th century Hungarian family killed by the plague and a German nobleman found wearing leather boots.
As we toured, I found it interesting that intentional ancient preservation included the use of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I couldn’t help but think of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus after he was born: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was the ancient preserver’s quest to maintain the body of the deceased for the “after life.” They put so much focus on the body, that they ignored the spirit.
This was a great educational and spiritual field trip, where we reminded our children that death is real, and it is important to focus on growing our spirits in the Lord. No amount of “works” or “spices” will gain us entry into heaven. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”(Ephesians 2:8-9).