OK, so it's not really an invasion, rather "Mummies of the World" -- billed as the largest-ever exhibition of mummies -- which opens at Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., on Friday, Dec. 17 and runs through May 30, 2011.
But this exhibition of mummies from around the globe -- and related artifacts -- feels more "Body Worlds" than King Tut.
The state of the art exhibit is gorgeous -- dim lights, floor projections and eerie music create an appropriate atmosphere -- and there are interactive stations galore with option-laden touch screen videos, movable magnifiers, scrollable scrolls and more.
There are mummies from Egypt, of course, but not as many as you'd expect and there are examples from all sorts of places you might not expect: Oceania, South America and Europe. The oldest is a 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru. There are also some animal mummies.
There is a mummy captured for time immemorial in a state of, ahem, eternal bliss.
Panels explore methods of mummification, the trade in mummies, DNA analysis and historical context.
This is not an exhibition of glistening golden sarcophagi, and except for a few small examples, there are not burial chamber treasures galore. Instead, we see burial vessels, a scalpel used to cut open the abdomen during the embalming preparation, the materials used in mummification and the like.
And there are bodies.
Some will be astonished. Others may be touched emotionally. I found myself transported between both.
The ones that were most interesting to me were a pair of 17th century mummies from Germany and a trio -- a mother, father and baby who died of tuberculosis -- from early 19th century Hungary.
The mummies of Egyptian royalty come from a time so remote that it's easier for me to separate out the emotion. But to look at a young family decimated by disease just 200 years ago feels more real.
Then there are the German baron and baroness, found in the castle where their descendants continue to live to this day. How much more real can an exhibition get? One can only imagine the complex range of emotions one would feel at coming quite literally face to face with their ancestors of 400 years ago.
The examples that hit me the hardest were the children. And the mummy of a baby laid atop the mummy of a woman resting her head on the mummy of a small child was nearly too much for this parent to behold at any length.
In addition to bringing wonder to its visitors, any exhibit worth its salt must also challenge its public, at least a little. "Mummies of the World" did that for me.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published March 27, 2015
Milwaukee's Chalice in the Palace breathes some life into the city's wanting reggae music scene with regular record spins featuring a wide variety of Jamaican sounds at area clubs.
Published March 26, 2015
I was a little disappointed the first time I stepped into Henry Koch's 1870 Calvary Presbyterian Church - that soaring red building on 10th and Wisconsin. The sanctuary has been completed remodeled and modernized. The pews are gone, replaced by stacks of movable chairs. The wooden chancel isn't ornately adorned as one might expect in a 150-year-old church, and the new hardwood floors gleam rather than creak with accumulated history. But, then, Pastor Mark McDonough converted me.
Published March 25, 2015
In all of the discussions of the siting of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, the discussion has been about connecting to Wisconsin Avenue and points south of the current Bradley Center. But, let's not ignore the other side.
Published March 25, 2015
In recent years, Milwaukee Public Library has been building for the future, replacing aged branches with mixed-use developments that ensure the libraries will be community fixtures for years to come. For its next project, MPL is moving the Forest Home branch into the future by reviving an old South Side neighborhood gem.
Published March 20, 2015
Scattered around the Milwaukee area are roughly two dozen eye-catching stone cottages that look like they could've been moved from Normandy. But, you might be surprised to learn they were designed by a New York architect who also designed the Big Apple's Singer Building, a 47-story skyscraper that was, for three years, the tallest building in the world.
Published March 18, 2015
Old newspaper ads for Milwaukee clubs open a world of unwritten history.
Published March 18, 2015
Dosing its rootsy rock and roll with a shot of country and etheral, melodic pop Milwaukee's Great Lake Drifters have created a sound that is difficult to pin down. With a brand new CD, " Radio Picture Show," the band takes part in this weekend's Equinox Music Festival at Linneman's in Riverwest. We chatted with a couple of the band's members about GLD, about "Radio Picture Show" and about Equinox.
Published March 17, 2015
Nine unforgettable places to rent some shoes in Brew City.
Published March 16, 2015
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver is one of nearly a dozen leaders of urban school districts headed to the White House this morning to meet with President Barack Obama as part of the Council of the Great City Schools' three-day annual legislative/policy conference in Washington.
Published March 13, 2015
Writing these past two weeks about disappeared Milwaukee rock clubs and Downtown in the 1980s has me a little bleary eyed with nostalgia. And my Milwaukee reminiscences almost always lead straight back to one building in Walker's Point.