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 May 2, 2016
When I became a dad and my kids neared school age, I hoped they'd have a teacher like the one who made a lasting impression on me. A few years into their school careers, I can honestly say that my wish has already come true.
Published April 30, 2016
After a long hiatus from making music full-time, Carter Hunnicutt (of Those XCleavers and Flat Rabbits) is back in the game. He releases a six-track CD, "Dangerous World," at Circle A Cafe in Riverwest on Sunday, May 22. We got him talking...
Published April 28, 2016
We are deep into spring now, whether or not the weather is playing along, and being Milwaukeeans we can't wait to get outside and enjoy the fun months. Here are seven postcard images showing our forefathers letting loose in old Milwaukee...
Published April 27, 2016
Last year, the city approved a plan by Maures Development Group to redevelop a set of buildings, including the Henry Koch-designed former Garfield Avenue School, into mixed-income housing, a new America's Black Holocaust Museum and more. What's up?
Published April 26, 2016
Musician Gary Myers spent a number of years playing in many Milwaukee clubs with his bands The Night Beats, The Darnells and The Cashmeres (Mojo Men, later The Portraits). Fortunately, he also took photographs of the places where he performed.
Published April 25, 2016
The timing of a couple press releases today brings up the question of whether or not the images showing a revamped The Shops of Grand Avenue embrace diversity.
Published April 25, 2016
After putting together a design team to look at ways to transform The Shops of Grand Avenue, the property's owners today released a series of renderings showing ways the mall could be converted into a mix of large office spaces, retail - including a grocery store - and more.
Published April 21, 2016
Shortly after Prince's sudden and tragic death early this afternoon, OnMilwaukee met up with Victor DeLorenzo, who had a fun story and a few thoughts to share about the late musical icon.
Published April 21, 2016
While the site of the new Downtown Transit Center - at Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive - had previously been a surface parking lot, some skeptical Milwaukeeans thought a bus depot was ill-suited to Milwaukee's lakefront. Now, it's about to disappear.
Published April 20, 2016
There are eight MPS high schools that rank in the top 32 of Wisconsin high schools, according to U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post.