The Egyptian Mummy at Shawnee’s Mabee-Gerrer Museum

An Egyptian mummy known as Tu Tu is one of the major tourists attractions of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

 

On display at the The Mabee-Gerrer Museum, Tu Tu was originally in exhibit at the Glen Island Museum of Buffalo, NY, until Benedictine monk named Father Gregory Gerrer, bought the Egyptian artefact in 1921. Tu Tu, the mummy, was said to have been brought to America from Egypt by a certain Louis Bennett some time prior to 1898.

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum is one of the oldest natural art galleries in Shawnee, Oklahoma, which Father Gerrer founded in 1914 out of his desire to bring culture to the state. Acquisition of the Tu Tu Egyptian mummy must have brought not only culture, but also visitors and travelers coming from far and wide.

Researchers Tried to Unravel the Egyptian Mummy’s Background

 

Subsequent studies on the mummified remains of TuTu revealed that they belonged to a woman. There are indications that she had given birth to at least one child. Based on estimates of researchers, Tu Tu is about 2,400 years-old and believed to have died between age 40 and 50.

 

Sometime in 2015, an expert on mummy studies focused on the method by which TuTu’s body was processed. Jonathan Elias, PhD of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium had identified certain social markers that gave indications of Tu Tu’s possible origins and stature.

 

Dr. Elias noticed a thickening around the neck of the mask, suggestive of an amulet or a small necklace hanging in that area. It was a common element found in Egyptian masks belonging to someone who lived in the Fayum district of Egypt during the Ptolemaic era.

 

Her cartonnage was loosely woven, while her hands were placed down along her sides; indicating that she was not a member of Egyptian aristocracy. Yet, her cartonnage was of high quality, which only suggests that TuTu held an important position in society.

 

 

Cartonnage by the way, refers to Egyptian mummy cases, consisting of linen or papyrus glued together in varying thicknesses and are typically coated with stucco.

 

On the other hand, the Ptolemaic Period, was a dynasty under Ptolemy 1, who ascended as ruler after the death of Alexander the Great.

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