Mummies return to ‘Silk Road’ exhibit

The missing mummies at the Penn Museum will be there soon.

Last week, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opened its new show of ancient Asian artifacts, “Secrets of the Silk Road,” without its centerpiece attraction — a pair of Chinese mummies. After several days of negotiating with Chinese officials, the mummies will become part of the show.

“Silk Road” opened with fake artifacts in place of the real ones. The museum will be closed from Sunday through Thursday as the mummies – one of which is 3,800 years old — are put into place.

The Penn Museum never officially said what the problem was. Museum officials would only say there was a “miscommunication.”

The mummies will have a shortened stay at the museum: When the reopens Feb.18,  the mummies will only be in residence for three weeks. After their removal from the museum on March 15, the exhibition will remain in the gallery for another two weeks after that, sans mummies.

“We’re really lucky to have the support of the Chinese embassy and Chinese officials that will make this happen,” said museum spokeswoman Pam Kostys. “This limited run is a decision we reached in collaboration with our Chinese collaborators.”

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