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Featured Mummy Museums @ Mummy Tombs

Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Netherlands

Austria

Vienna: The Kunsthistorisches Museum features a number of coffins, including the Mummy Board and Inner Coffin for Nes-pauti-taui.

Denmark

Copenhagen: The Nationalmuseet displays the Huldremose Woman and the Stidsholt head, both recovered in the bogs.

Moesgård: The Forhistorisk Museum (near Aarhus) displays many prehistoric artifacts recovered from the area, including a bog body called the Grauballe Man.

Odense: The Fyns Oldtid-Hollufgärd exhibits the Koelbjerg Woman, bog remains recovered in 1941.

Silkeborg: The Silkeborg Museum is famous for its outstanding exhibit of the Tollund Man, perhaps the most famous bog body in the world. Of all the bog bodies on display, this is one not to be missed.

Germany

Elizabethfehn: The Moor- und Fehnmuseum does not exhibit any bog bodies, but it has an excellent series of exhibits  that detail the process of bog creation and its special properties. Some bog body hair samples are displayed, as well as some photos. Worth a visit if you are on your way to look at bog bodies in Assen or Oldenburg.

Emden: The Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum displays the bog remains (primarily skeletal) and the knife sheath of Bernuthsfeld Man.

Hannover: The Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum houses one bog body (Neu Versen Man sometimes called Roter Franz) and numerous bog finds. The exhibit also contains a recreation of a bog trackway. It's worth a visit if you're passing by.

Hildesheim: The Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum has one of the foremost Egyptian exhibits in the world. Now that the museum has been mostly rebuilt, the artifacts and mummies are on superb display in six spacious rooms on the well-lit top floor.

It boasts a phenomenal collection of Egyptian artifacts and mummies, including a ceramic Anubis mask (the only one in a public collection) that dates  from 600 B.C.

Also displayed in the human mummy collection are the poorly wrapped mummy of a child (it is literally wrapped in rags) and a Ptolemaic period mummy named Ankh-Hapi. Also exhibited are many unusual masks: one rare mask is made of silver, others are made from cartonnage, one early example (5th Dynasty) is made from plaster. One of the first anthropoid-shaped sarcophagi is also displayed (made during the reign of Thutmosis I). Also displayed is an early ceramic coffin which is quite rare. It would have been covered with a reed mat.

The museum also exhibits one Peruvian mummy from the Paracas culture

Munich:

Oldenburg: The Landesmuseum für Natur und Mensch (in the northwest part of the country near the Dutch border) is a gem of a mummy museum specializing in bog finds. The museum's holdings include three bog bodies, as well as various articles of clothing and other bog finds. But the most spectacular part of the exhibit is an enormous chunk of bog itself that towers over visitors and forms the centerpiece of the exhibit. 

Schleswig: Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, (near the Danish border) should be one of the first museums on your list if your travel plans include bog bodies. The museum holdings include at least five bog bodies and and one head, though not all may be exhibited. 

The two most famous bodies are known as Windeby I and Windeby II. Windeby is an estate near Schleswig that contains a small bog. In 1952, the owners decided to cut the peat and sell it for fuel. Shortly, workers discovered the body of Windeby 1 (originally thought to be a girl, the body is now known to be male). Although the peat-cutting machinery had already severed one leg; a foot, and a hand, work was stopped immediately to study the discovery.

A short time after the discovery of Windeby I, a man's body (now known as Windeby II) was found sixteen feet away. Windeby II had been strangled first and then placed in the bog. Sharpened, forked branches had been jammed into the peat around him to make sure that he stayed put.

The three other bodies displayed in separate dioramas are men from Damendorf, Rendswühren, and Dätgen. All are named for the areas where they were discovered, and all were apparently sacrificed. 

But the most interesting "item" discovered from nearby peat bogs is probably the one from Osterby: a man's head, which was wrapped in a cape made of deerskin. Although peat workers searched for its body, none could be found, and scientists speculate that the Osterby head alone was used as a sacrifice. It has a full head of hair, arranged in an unusual style: one section of hair was twisted and woven into a figure-eight knot--without the use of a fastener. 

In a nearby building called Nydamhalle, the remains of a Viking boat, excavated from a Danish bog, are displayed along with a number of intriguing artifacts discovered with the boat.

There is also a Viking Museum in the vicinity as well.  And the town of Schleswig is charming.

Netherlands

Amsterdam: The Allard Pierson Museum (the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam) is probably one of the most overlooked mummy museums in the world. With all the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, most visitors probably walk right past this museum, unaware that it holds many Egyptian treasures. On the Singel Canal, near the Vroom and Dreesmann department store, the museum is not only worth a visit, it's worth the trip itself (especially coupled with a stop in Leiden and Assen--see below).

The Museum displays a number of animal mummies (three fish are particularly interesting), a few human mummies and many mummy masks and coffins and even some mummy sandals. A recreation of an Old Kingdom burial is also of interest. Perhaps the most unusual display is the textile used to wrap a Coptic (i.e., Christian) burial around 400 A.D. Because of the dry climate, a person who was not artificially mummified could end up being naturally mummified. A black-and-white photo of one such natural Coptic mummy is included in the display.

One of my favorite displays is three fish mummies:

Assen: The Drents Museum is surely one of the most beautifully decorated museums in the world. It also houses one of the better bog mummy collections. This isn't surprising, considering that it is located in prime bog country, in the northern Netherlands. Many finds (both human and object) over the years are housed there and make the museum well worth a visit. 

Two other things are particularly appealing about the museum: (1) the interior decoration is phenomenal: colorful tiles, columns, ceilings are all done in original Art Nouveau style; (2) the eclectic nature of the collection, which ranged from Dutch folk art and crafts (as reflected in everyday life of the province) to historic rooms with period decorations to an extensive art nouveau collection to (of course) bog mummies. The museum itself is a conglomeration of four historic houses, and the museum cafe is a turn-of-the-century art nouveau classic. Highly recommended! 

The bog mummies of display include the Weerdinge Men and the Yde Girl:

 

Leiden: The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden boasts an unbeatable collection of Egyptian mummies and artifacts. From the outside, the museum looks small and unprepossessing; but step inside and a visitor comes face to face with a transplanted Egyptian temple in the lobby.

Two aspects make the museum a good place to visit: its outstanding collection of Egyptian mummies (including many animal mummies) as well as its exhibit on the archaeology of the Netherlands which contains a number of bog finds (though no bog bodies are displayed).