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Wednesday, 14 October, 2009 3:19 AM

'Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato' is now open at the Detroit Science Center

PHOTO BY MIKE ISMAIR / ©AMERICAJR.com

One of 36 mummies included within the new exhibit "Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato" at the Detroit Science Center.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- A new exhibit has opened at the Detroit Science Center with 36 accidental mummies that were found in Guanajuato, Mexico. This is the first stop for the 10,000 square foot touring exhibit that will be visiting six other U.S. museums from 2010 through 2012. The mummies are on loan from the Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato. Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox appeared at the world debut exhibition preview reception on Friday, Oct. 9.

Only one in 100 bodies buried in Guanajuato get the rare and mysterious opportunity of natural mummification. Accidental mummies form in certain climates and conditions, unlike bodies that are artificially mummified with an embalming and wrapping process. The exhibit is highly educational with objectives for grades five through 12.

"I think it's fantastic the way this museum has made a museography," said Fox, who was born in Guanajuato, in an exclusive interview. "The reproduction of the site, the history of each of the mummies is impressive. But the mummies themselves, they are impressive because they come from the world's most beautiful city, which is Guanajuato. This is an old mining town which has the unique characteristic of underground streets. I would invite everybody, Latinos, Hispanics, everybody, African-Americans, and Americans to come and visit this great exhibition. It's fantastic."

The first section of the exhibit takes guests into a beautiful cemetery. Visitors will see crypt walls, monuments and grave markers filled with poetry. Openings in the wall of crypts will reveal the actual mummies who are located behind them.

"Culturally, it's great to see Mexico," said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. "It shows the cultural exchange that can happen between our two great countries. There's a strong tie to Mexico. Obviously, now only in southwest Detroit, but really throughout the Detroit metropolitan region. It's inspiring. I think people should come down and see it. I think it's a feather in cap of the science center for what they've been able to do. Many times you don't here a lot of firsts in Detroit but this is certainly one of them."

In regards to Vicente Fox's appearance at the preview reception, Ficano said: "It was nice of him. I think this is the second time in about three months that he's been here. He seems to like Detroit and the area. It was inspiring to see him."

The second section of the exhibit takes guests into an area full of mummies. Each mummy has a description next to it with information on who the person was, how they lived and how they died.

"It shows the unique aspect of Mexican culture that I was completely unaware of," said Kathleen Straus, President of the Michigan State Board of Education. "Thirty-six accidental mummies. They just became mummies in their crypts, which I had never heard of before. It's very interesting. The explanations on how these people lived and their lives was very interesting. It's not just mummies. It's a whole cultural experience. People think 'mummies,' it's going to be weird. But it's not at all."

Straus commented on Fox's speech during the preview reception: "He was right on target, talked about building bridges between the United States needs Mexico and Mexico needs the United States for a peaceful North America, a productive North America. I thought he was very good."

It took more than a year of negotiations to get the mummies from Mexico to be a part of the Detroit Science Center's exhibit.

"I recognized them and helped figure out the diagnosis on them," said Henry Pierson, Lead CT Scan Technologist for Oakwood Medical Park in Dearborn, Mich. "We did it in two sessions, it was two different weekends. Three one weekend, three the other. It took about a half hour to do each one. It was fun.

"I think this museum is a hidden gem in Detroit. Because when you come down here and see what they offer, it's just fascinating. You don't hear too much about it."

The next section of the exhibit is all about solving mysteries. Visitors will see a reproduction of a forensic lab where skeletal structures, internal organs and cellular composition are explored. Diagnostic tools include endoscopy, x-ray, computed tomography, molecular analysis and forensic reconstruction.

"I love it," said Karina Reynoso, a Wixom, Mich. resident who is originally from Mexico City. "I think it really reflects the culture. Each display tells more about the life of the people. I really love it--I think it's just great. People should come and visit it. It's really great. It's an amazing effort they are doing to bring the exhibit here."

The final stop in the exhibit is about celebrating life and death. Guests will learn why The Day of the Dead is an important holiday. Visitors will understand how mummies have become a part of Mexican popular culture. Also, explore a marketplace gift shop with candies, authentic jewelry and souvenirs from the exhibit.

Tickets for "The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato" are $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors and $19.95 for children 12 and under. The exhibit runs from October 11 through April 11, 2009. The Detroit Science Center is located at 5020 John R. Street in Detroit. For more information, call (313) 577-8400.

Click here for more information on "Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato" at the Detroit Science Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A Biology lab is located within the new exhibit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A reproduction of a forensic lab.

 

PHOTO BY MIKE ISMAIR / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo interviews Kathleen Straus, President of the Michigan State Board of Education.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Louis Aguilar autographed copies of his new book during the preview reception. He is also a reporter for The Detroit News.

 

PHOTO BY MIKE ISMAIR / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo interviews Karina Reynoso, a Wixom, Mich. resident who is originally from Mexico City.

 

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