Friday, April 6, 2012

Help send the mummies to their next life

If you aren't one of the 100,000-plus people who have seen "Mummies of the World," hear this: It 's down to its last weekend.

The Tattooed Woman and her companions will leave Discovery Place after Sunday. If visiting them in their low-light galleries at the science center doesn't strike you as a festive way to spend part of the Easter weekend, look at it this way: Many of them embody their own cultures' beliefs about the life after the worldly one. During the weekend of resurrection, that may be food for thought.

Besides, if your notions of mummies begin and end with Egypt, the show has a lot to open your eyes. Who knew that some South American cultures preserved their dead this way? I sure didn't. That startling Tattooed Woman came from Chile, where her seated position was typical in the time before 1400 A.D.

"Mummies of the World" is on display Friday through 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Depending on your own background and powers of observation, there's no telling what you may notice. I took a friend from Florida who's a dentist. He looked at the gums of a mummy who was missing teeth and surmised that the dearly departed probably had them at the time of death. For a moment, just the thought of it turned the mummy into a person.