Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:01 pm (KSA) 09:01 am (GMT)

British museum covers up 'naked' mummies

Mummy visualization image (Courtesy Manchester Museum Mummy Project)
Mummy visualization image (Courtesy Manchester Museum Mummy Project)

A British museum is covering up its collection of ancient Egyptian mummies following visitor complaints about them going on show "naked", it said Wednesday.

Two unwrapped mummies and one partially wrapped mummy out of 11 on display at The Manchester Museum in northwest England were covered after comments were received that they should be treated with more respect and dignity.

The mummies will be kept under wraps temporarily while a public consultation is carried out about the best way to display human remains at the centre, said deputy director Piotr Bienkowski.

"We collect visitor comments on a regular basis and over the last few months there have been an awful lot of people questioning the public and educational value of showing such mummies," he told AFP by telephone.

"This is an interim measure designed to find out public reaction because of the negative comments we have been getting, especially about the unwrapped mummies."

The chairman of the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society, Bob Partridge, called the decision "ridiculous" and that he was "almost at a loss for words".

"If the university museum is to continue its policy of education and informing visitors, then covering up the mummies is not achieving this end, and is making the museum a subject of ridicule," he wrote on the site.

Reaction on the museum's weblog showed that many Egyptologists are against the move. One respondent called it "totally misguided". Another called it "misinformed" while a third called it a "step backwards".

The Manchester Museum is home to one of Britain's largest collections of artefacts from ancient Egypt, with about 20,000 objects.

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