Highlights | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles


Exhibition Highlights

Come Face to Face With Mummies

Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs uses modern science to challenge and help to unravel what we know about these ancient peoples and their cultures, and in doing so, offers visitors an intensely up-close look at The Field Museum's preeminent collection of mummies, many of them had been tucked safely away in vaults for over a century.

This exhibition premiered at NHM during the Fall of 2015.



Known as the Gilded Lady, this mummy’s headdress is made of cartonage (glued layers of papyrus or linen) and covered with gilding. Ancient Egyptians believed that masks allowed the dead to maintain their senses in the afterlife; the golden skin was used to show divinity. © 2015 The Field Museum,A115214d_030B, photograph by John Weinstein.

One of the stars of Mummies is the 40-year-old female of the Roman era, known as “Gilded Lady,” who had remained safely stored in The Field Museum’s vaults since 1893. Besides revealing her age, CT scans unveiled that she had a slight overbite and Cleopatra-like curly hair. Visitors will be able to come face to face with the Gilded Lady as a forensically reconstructed sculpture hyperrealistically portrays what she would have looked like when she was alive. 


Credit: CT scan: © 2015 The Field Museum.

This CT scan shows the skeleton and skin beneath the cartonage and the gilding of the Gilded Lady, an intact mummy from Roman-era Egypt.



Replica of a Chinchorro mummy mask. © 2015 The Field Museum, A115210d_029B, photograph by John Weinstein.

The Chinchorro people, who lived in what is now Peru and Chile, were the world’s first practitioners of mummification, thousands of years before the Egyptians. A mask like this would have been the finishing touch on a Chinchorro mummy. 


Detail of the coffin: Eye of Horus, the falcon god. © 2015 The Field Museum, A115218d_014A, photograph by John Weinstein.

Some of the Egyptian coffins on display are plain; others are decorated wooden ones with hieroglyphs, like this one which tells of the deceased being led by the four animal-headed sons of the god Horus. 


© 2015 The Field Museum, A115240d_001A, photograph by John Weinstein.

Limestone canopic jars from Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1069-664 BC). The figures on top of the jars each represent one of the four Sons of Horus: deities who protect the stomach, lungs, liver and intestines and serve the dead.

© 2015 The Field Museum, A115211d_015D, photographer John Weinstein.

This intricately wrapped object is a mummified baby crocodile, buried as an offering to an ancient Egyptian god. The exhibition featrures evidence that the Egyptians mummified cats, baboons, birds, gazelles as well, and placed them in burial chambers with their loved ones.