Albany Institute changes sex of its mummy

Posted at: 03/21/2013 5:47 PM
Updated at: 03/22/2013 11:56 AM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - If you've been to the Albany Institute of History and Art, then you've almost certainly seen the mummies.

It is "the most popular exhibition at the Albany Institute, bar none," said Tammis Groft, the interim director of the Institute.

The Institute acquired the two mummies in 1909 from a Cairo museum.

Officials say one of the mummies was unwrapped to the waist back then to show it was the real thing. That mummy is male.

The second mummy was sold wrapped in a wooden coffin adorned with ancient Egyptian hieroglyph.

Although interpretation indicated the individual was a priest and sculptor and therefore a guy, it was assumed the mummy was switched from another coffin.

"The Cairo Museum, without the benefit of technology, said this mummy was a female," explained Groft.

A prominent Egyptologist, Dr. Bob Brier, said "how they came up with that I have no idea. The thing is wrapped. It's a pig in a poke."

So the mummy was sold as and displayed here in Albany for a century as a woman.   

After examining the wrapped interior with a CT scan and X-rays, Institute officials Thursday proudly announced a sex change, as it were.

The shape of the chin, eye area, and especially the pelvis have led experts to conclude that the name and sex indicated on the coffin are correct.

Despite claims from a century ago, the mummy is male.