Is There a Mummy in the American Museum of Natural History?

If you’ve ever visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you might have wondered if there is a mummy on display. The answer is yes!

In fact, there are several mummies in the museum’s collection. Let’s take a closer look at these fascinating artifacts and their history.

The Egyptian Collection

The American Museum of Natural History’s Egyptian collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. It includes over 30,000 artifacts, ranging from small amulets to monumental statues. Among these treasures are several mummies.

The Temple of Dendur

One of the most famous displays in the museum is the Temple of Dendur. This ancient Egyptian temple was built around 15 BC and was dedicated to the goddess Isis and two sons of a local Nubian chieftain. It was dismantled and shipped to New York in 1965 as a gift from Egypt to the United States for its help in saving several temples from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

Inside the temple, you can see two mummies on display: one of a man named Nesmin who lived during Egypt’s Late Period (664-332 BC) and another that has not been identified.

Mummies from Thebes

In addition to Nesmin, there are several other mummies on display at the museum. Some of them come from Thebes, an ancient city located on the east bank of the Nile river in present-day Luxor, Egypt.

One such mummy belongs to an individual named Pa-di-Imen. He lived during Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period (1070-712 BC) and was buried with his wife Ta-kharu. Another mummy comes from Thebes’ Deir el-Bahri necropolis and is believed to be that of a woman named Nesiur.

How Were Mummies Made?

Mummies were created by a complex process of embalming and wrapping the body in linen. The process typically took around 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, drying out the body with natron (a type of salt), and wrapping it in multiple layers of linen bandages.

The mummy was then placed in a coffin, which was often decorated with images and hieroglyphics related to the person’s life and beliefs about the afterlife.

The Importance of Mummies

Mummies are important artifacts because they offer a unique glimpse into ancient Egyptian culture and religion. They were created as part of a complex belief system that emphasized the importance of preserving the body for the afterlife.

In addition, mummies provide valuable insights into ancient Egyptian medicine and anatomy. By studying mummies, scientists can learn about diseases, diet, and even DNA from thousands of years ago.


So if you’re ever at the American Museum of Natural History and find yourself wondering if there are any mummies on display, now you know that there are several! From Nesmin in the Temple of Dendur to Pa-di-Imen in the Egyptian collection, these fascinating artifacts offer a glimpse into an ancient civilization’s beliefs about life, death, and beyond.