Artifacts Museums & Historic Sites

The Mummy Returns!

The State Historical Museum’s most famous attraction returns to the Old Capitol for the month of October! The Egyptian “mummy” (pictured above), that so many visitors came to see, was unfortunately discovered to be a fake in 1969. Charlotte Capers, director of MDAH at the time, wrote of the discovery, saying:

The shrunken Egyptian mummy which was the stellar attraction of the Mississippi State Historical Museum for many years was exposed as a fake, when Gentry W. Yeatman, an enterprising University of Mississippi medical student with an interest in archaeology, x-rayed the little lady for a paleo-pathology project and found her heart was full of nails. Further, her shoulders were built of boards, she had a German language newspaper in her foot, and over her liver was a fragment of The Milwaukee Journal for 1898. This discovery was a death blow to a cherished legend, and raised more questions than it answered.

(In the old exhibit photograph above, the X-rays are shown next to the mummy. You can see the boards and nails.)

Today, the origins of the “dummy mummy” are still unknown, though Capers, later on in her report, posited that it was constructed by a German immigrant in Milwaukee. The mummy then made its way to a Mississippi collector who included it with a collection of Native American artifacts acquired by the state around 1923.

The mummy now resides in storage, but from October 1-31 at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, you can see the dummy mummy for yourself! Located at 100 South State Street, the museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m., free of charge. Parking is behind the Old Capitol, off Amite St. For more information call 601-576-6920 or email the Old Capitol.

Source: Charlotte Capers, “Dummy Mummy,” The Delta Review, November-December 1969.

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