No more “mummies”: From now on “mummified persons” say British museums

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No more “mummies”: From now on “mummified persons” say British museums

This change by British museums aims to show respect for mummies. “Hypocrisy” some say

“Mummies” end. Henceforth only “mummified persons”… Many British museums delete the word “mummy” from their inscriptions, as they consider it derogatory to the dead. The word “mummy or mummy-c-ya” is Arabic. It means “tar” and “asphalt”, and more precisely it is a combination of tar and myrrh, which was used for medicinal, antiseptic purposes and to treat fractures.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, British colonialists opened numerous mummified bodies to extract the chemicals they contained.

Museums want to deal appropriately with exhibits that have a colonial or tribal past. They also want to challenge the stereotype that mummies are associated with something creepy and sinister.

As a result, several museums in the UK have decided to henceforth use the term “mummified person”. This change is meant to show more respect for mummies. The purpose of museums is to show that they were once people with feelings, personality and life. If known, the person’s name should be used (eg Ramses).

Of course, there are not a few who accuse museums of hypocrisy. And this, because mummies are exhibited in museums as objects, apparently contrary to the wishes of the dead for their last journey…

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