Featured Mummy Museums @ Mummy Tombs

France, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland


The Institute of Anatomy of Paris, otherwise known as the Delmas-Orfila-Rouvière Museum (and sometimes shortened to Orfila Museum), is the largest anatomical museum in France. It contains, among other treasures, the remains of executed criminals from the 18th-20th centuries. Once included in the holdings was the mummified head of famous spy Mata Hari, but that apparently disappeared when the Museum changed locations. 

When I was in Paris recently, I decided to stop by and see for myself. The museum itself is not easy to find on the eighth floor of the Faculté de Médecine on the Rue des Saints-Pères in Paris (Left Bank, off Blvd. St. Germain). It's also not easy to visit. These days it seems to be open only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons by appointment. But it is worth a little planning.

Even a brief visit on a day that the museum is closed will take you to the 8th floor vestibule where a few display cases offer an interesting glimpse into what the museum offers. Shown below are "Les Hommes en Blanc," three naturally mummified bodies that were discovered around 1840 in a Paris apartment.


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The Museum can be found on the eighth floor of the Faculté de Médecine on the Rue des Saints-Pères in Paris. 


Athens: The National Archaeological Museum houses a number of human and animal mummies, some of them on display in the museum's Egyptian exhibit

According to historian-museologist Marios Savvoulidis, the museum "holds the fourth most important Egyptian collection in Europe, numbering some 7,000 objects of all periods, from Predynastic to Roman. Some of the museum's holdings are unique, like the Takushit bronze statue." 

The Ministry of Culture publishes a catalog of the collection, entitled The World of Egypt in the National Archaeological Museum.  


Bolzano: The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is Ötzi the Iceman's home and well worth a visit even if you have to drive up from Rome or other parts of Europe. The museum is full of fascinating exhibits. Visitors begin on the entrance floor, working their way up through the archaeological ages to the fourth floor (which contains artifacts from the Roman times and early Middle Ages). For more information, follow this link.

Pompeii: Archaeological Site of Pompeii is the home of some definition-bending mummies made of plaster. Though their bodies themselves were not preserved, their shape and form was imprinted in the surrounding hardened ash. These tragic human molds were filled with plaster and are displayed throughout the ruins of Pompeii.


Geneva: The Museum of Art and History has an Egyptian section with one mummy. The label card indicates that she was "de la maîtresse de maison Tjes-mout-pert." 

According to Larry Riggs who sent The Mummy Tombs information about the mummy: "Whether this means that the mummy is a housewife named Tjes-mout-pert or is a mistress from the house of Tjes-mout-pert, I could not say." But he does note that this mummy is not particularly well-preserved: "Her arms and legs were mostly skeletal, but her neck, torso, and head were still wrapped." The museum has dated the mummy to the 22nd-25th Dynasty. Thank you, Larry.

Yverdon: The Local History Museum located in a medieval castle displays the mummy of one Egyptian named Nesshou.  He was a priest devoted to worshipping Min, a fertility God and lived in the Greek period (331-30 B.C.). His mummy wrappings are interesting. The linen has been removed to reveal that the Book of the Dead (papyrus) was wrapped around the body; they are the glossy, lighter-colored parts of the body. X-rays of the mummy reveal that there are various amulets underneath. Nesshou was donated to the museum in 1896 by Edmund Simond-Bey. Thanks to Larry Riggs, for providing the photo and the information about the mummy.


The castle at Yverdon itself is worth a tour, because it was apparently the first work of the great architect of Edward I's Welsh castles, Master James of St. Georges. The castle boasts a fascinating keep that could be a final refuge in case of attack; it has a drawbridge connecting it to the ramparts of the castle.