Hungarian Mummy Undergoes CT Scan at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital

Specimen on Loan to Special Exhibition Mummies of the World

Exhibit Midwest Premiere December 17 at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Dec 09, 2010, 16:19 ET from American Exhibitions, Inc.

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Using 21st century technology to help researchers understand more about an 18th century mummy, an adult female mummy born in 1770 in Vac, Hungary will undergo a non-invasive computerized tomography (CT) scan at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee on Friday, December 10.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101209/FL15372 )

The scan of the mummy from Vac, Veronica Orlovits, was organized by the Milwaukee Public Museum in collaboration with American Exhibitions, Inc., the German Mummy Project based at the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums (REM) in Mannheim, Germany and the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, Hungary, to help determine the mummy's state of preservation and any disease or injury she may have had.

Orlovits is one of a three-member mummy family on loan from the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, as part of Mummies of the World, the largest exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, making its Midwest debut December 17 at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

This groundbreaking exhibition, brought to the United States by American Exhibitions, Inc. (AEI), in association with the REM, reveals how the scientific study of mummies provides a window into the lives of ancient peoples and civilizations from around the world.

"CT scans and other science tools represent the gold standard in studying mummies, helping us to learn much more about how people lived and died," says Dr. Heather Gill-Frerking, the scientific research coordinator for the German Mummy Project (GMP), based at the REM. "These techniques are also non-destructive and provide a complete three-dimensional archive record, which also allows us to preserve the mummies for future generations."

"We are honored to have been selected by the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, and hope that our advanced technology will be useful in their studies," says Bill Hart, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee.

The Orlovits family is part of a group of 18th century mummies discovered in Vac, Hungary, in 1994. Reconstruction of parts of a Dominican church just north of Budapest uncovered two long-forgotten burial crypts dating back to 1674 and sealed in 1838.

Michael Orlovits (born 1765), Veronica Orlovits and their son Johannes (born 1800) were among those preserved by the cool, dry air of the crypt and the oil from the pine shavings that lined some of the coffins. Extensive research, including DNA analysis, has already revealed that Veronica Orlovits suffered from severe tuberculosis. The scan conducted at Columbia St. Mary's on Veronica will help confirm this analysis, as well as provide insight on any other diseases or injuries she may have suffered. Without invasive techniques, the scan also will reveal the exact condition of preservation of the mummy over the past 245 years.

Mummies of the World has been years in the making and brings to the U.S. a never-before-seen collection of mummies and related artifacts from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Egypt. The mummies and related artifacts are on loan from 20 world-renowned museums and collections in seven countries. Its remarkable specimens include one of the oldest mummy infants ever discovered; a mummified family (Orlovits family) from Vac, Hungary; a German nobleman discovered in a family crypt by descendants; and intentionally preserved Egyptian animal and human mummies.

This important exhibition, making a three-year, seven-city tour around the country, dispels some of the notions and misconceptions about mummies and uses science tools to reach across time, demonstrating how scientific methods can illuminate the historic record and enhance our knowledge about cultures around the world. It also shows that mummification – both through natural processes and intentional practices – has taken place all over the globe, from the hot desert sands of South America to remote European moors and bogs.

Mummies of the World is a ticketed event and requires a timed entry. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Tickets are available to be purchased online at www.mpm.edu or by calling 414-223.4676.

More information about the exhibition is online: www.mummiesoftheworld.com.

SOURCE American Exhibitions, Inc.