Friday, January 20, 2012

Mummy reunited with mask

The Republic

The mummy Nefrina came face to face with her funeral mask Wednesday, as the likeness that had been buried with her — but was separated the past 82 years — was returned to her in the Reading Public Museum.

Museum Director John Graydon Smith thanked the University of Pennsylvania for lending the mask to the museum for the next year.

It was scheduled to go on display Thursday in the Nefrina Gallery.

"We are delighted," Smith said. "I really think it's going to show people, especially kids, what they were trying to accomplish in the mummification process.

"I don't know that we'll see a huge influx of visitors. From a responsibility perspective, this is the right thing to do."

The university bought the mummy, its coffin and the mask from an antiquities dealer in 1893. In 1930, it agreed to let the Reading museum borrow the mummy and coffin for display.

But it insisted on keeping the mask, even after the museum bought the mummy outright in 1949. The museum has been trying to borrow the mask since 1993.

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