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Meet the mummy

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: English, History, Science, Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 32
  • Venue: World Museum
  • Price: £70 (inc VAT) per session
    Why is there a charge?

Summary

This interactive session explores the mummification processes in ancient Egypt. Mummification was a religious ceremony that required a high level of knowledge and skill. The session is led by a member of our education team who will be with you for the duration of the session.

 

Further details

school children wrapping a model of a mummy

© Dave Jones

In this museum led session students will be introduced to the process of mummification, an integral aspect of ancient Egyptian culture. Through an interactive approach, which involves working on a life size dummy mummy, students will learn details of how the body was preserved and will come to appreciate the cultural meanings of the preservation process. 

Mummification involved a high-level of knowledge and skill; in reality the process took approximately 70 days. From an early date the Egyptians had identified bodily liquids as a source of decay, but the body was needed to house the ka (spirit) in the afterlife.  Mummification was also a religious ceremony. The chief embalmer was a priest donning a mask of Anubis, the jackal headed god of the dead.

 During the session pupils, working alongside an expert from the Museum, will be taken through the various stages of the embalming process including; washing the body, removing organs, stuffing the body, replacing eyes with artificial ones and carefully placing amulets between layers of bandages.  Throughout the process, to protect the body and spirit, magical spells from the book of the dead are read aloud.  The mummy will then be ready to be placed in its coffin/s for the burial ceremony.

 In the session pupils are encouraged to develop and communicate their knowledge and understanding through speaking, listening, and reading activities and the activity may well offer inspiration for writing activities.

 To help your pupils gain the most from their session and ensure safe handling of the collections, it is essential that you have a ratio of at least 1 adult helper to 8 pupils.

 Please arrive on time for your show or we may not be able to run it for you. Please share these notes with your adult helpers before your visit. This will help them to support your pupils have a successful and enjoyable day.

 This workshop can be linked with:

Curriculum links

History:

  • Understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world and the nature of ancient civilisations.

English:

  • Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons.

Science:

  • Develop an understanding of methods of scientific enquiry so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions. 

SMSC - Fundamental British Values

Through participating in this session students are encouraged to think about democracy, individual liberty and tolerance. 

  • Individual liberty: Through the participative approach in the session individual liberty is promoted by enabling students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Mutual respect and tolerance: Learning about the process of mummification, and ancient Egyptian religion, encourages students to be tolerant and respectful of others’ culture, beliefs and faith.
  • Social skills: Students develop their social skills as they work together to mummify the ‘body’.
  • Rule of law: Children are encouraged to reflect on the rule of law as they find out about tomb robbers and punishment for breaking the law in ancient Egypt.
  • Democracy: Children explore the social hierarchy of ancient Egypt – the existence of slaves, servants and pharaohs. They develop their ideas about democracy by beginning to understand how different people may have felt. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of world history.
  • understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world; the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind. For instance:
  • appreciate ancient Egyptians’ knowledge of the body and decay
  • recognise mummification as a process involving several steps, exploring each of these steps in detail
  • gain an insight into the anatomy of the body through assisting in the ‘mummification’ learn about how the person has a spiritual significance beyond death, and gain insights into the ancient Egyptian understanding of body and spirit.

Skills

Pupils will:

  • have the opportunity to draw on and share their existing knowledge whilst also being encouraged to absorb and recall new information assimilated throughout the session.
  • gain practice in working through an activity collaboratively and with consideration for their peers.
  • improve their speaking and listening skills.
  • improve their confidence by individual participation in dramatic sections of the presentation.

Concepts

Pupils will:

  • be introduced to the work of an embalmer and appreciate mummification in its historical context. 
  • appreciate that objects displayed and worked with in the museum are to be treated with respect.
  • understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • learn how concepts of afterlife inform practices around burial and the treatment of the body after death.

 Attitudes

Pupils will:

  • appreciate that the objects in museums are thousands of years old and have to be treated with respect.
  • have a respect and appreciation for the mummies on display after learning the reasons for the process and the skill involved.
  • see World Museum as a resource for historical research to help understand  the ancient world.
  • be confident in interpreting information about ancient Egyptian mummies.
  • have had opportunity to work collaboratively with peers.
  • see the World Museum as an enjoyable and stimulating place to visit.