Barnum Museum learns true identity of 4,000-year-old mummy

One of Barnum Museum’s popular artifacts was always believed to be the story of an Egyptian priest. But in recent years, the museum found out that wasn’t the case.

Abby Del Vecchio and Angelica Toruno

Jul 26, 2023, 11:54 PM

Updated 351 days ago

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It's a case of mistaken identity. One of Barnum Museum’s popular artifacts was always believed to be the story of an Egyptian priest. But in recent years, the museum found out that wasn’t the case.
Egyptian coffin hieroglyphics usually tell the story of the person who is inside, which in this case was a male priest named Pa-Ib from Luxor, Egypt.
But in 2006, the museum was curious to know more about this person and worked with Quinnipiac University and Egyptian scholars.
With the help of technology, museum curators found out the mummy had been a far cry from a male priest.
In fact, she was a woman. Scholars believe she died in her 30s and came from luxury, based on how her arms were positioned. The museum has worked on a series that is now posted on YouTube in order to help tell her story respectfully.
“Every moment has been exciting and exhilarating, and slowly but most certainly giving her back her identity has been truly an extraordinary opportunity in anybody’s professional career you know to have that possibility right in front of you and I think we’ve served her well and I hope we’ve served her well in her afterlife,” said executive director Kathleen Maher.
Scholars have named her Ipy and she is about 4,000 years old. Because the museum is being restored, she is being kept in a box.


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