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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tourism for Locals: A Mummy Finds a Resting Place at SF State University

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Want see a mummy in person? Go back to school to see this one. - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Want see a mummy in person? Go back to school to see this one.

Who knew going back to school could be fun and free?

We're not talking about attending classes, but visiting a hidden gem tucked away at San Francisco State University.

A dead body, located on the fifth floor of the Humanities building, is on display for the general public -- not just a body, a mummy to be exact.

The 3,500-year-old mummy -- the linen-wrapped body of NES-PER-N-NUB and all of his belongs found in his sarcophagus -- is part of the permanent collection of SF State's Sutro Egyptian Collection that is curated by the Museum Studies Department.

This mummy was buried with three sarcophagi fitting together as one, like in Russian nesting doll fashion. According to student docents in the museum, NES-PER-N-NUB's casket is extremely rare because there are only three triple-nesting sarcophagi in the entire United States.

click to enlarge Jar of Hearts? Not just a song. - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Jar of Hearts? Not just a song.

The collection is named after Adolph Sutro, a collector who lived in San Francisco in the late 1800s and created Sutro Baths, a swimming and bathing complex of five salt-water bathing pools. According to information at the SF State Museum, the Sutro Baths had a museum that contained the artifacts that we can now see on display today.

SF State archaeology professor Andreina Becker-Colonna convinced George Whitney Jr., then owner in the 1950s, to donate the items to the university just before he sold the site to developers in 1964. It's a good thing that occurred because a fire destroyed the Baths in 1966 and the National Park Service bought the ruins in 1980.

click to enlarge This is Sparta! - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • This is Sparta!

The museum is not only staffed by Museum Studies students, but they also produce all exhibitions and the related educational and public programming.

While the intact mummy, who died of natural causes in his late 30s, is the main attraction, there are other valuable artifacts on display and not simply limited to ancient Egypt.

Egypt ● Greece ● Rome: Commerce, Colonies & Conquest Across the Ancient Mediterranean is this semester's newest exhibit. It explores the economic and political relationships among the aforementioned major powers in the ancient Mediterranean world. The artifacts illustrate and explore connections between trade and travel in the region through objects from the museum's permanent collection: Roman, Phoenician and Greek coins and pottery.

There are also objects of Roman and Greek armor: helmets, weapons, and chest plates. Makes you almost want to recreate that famous scene in the film 300.

click to enlarge Greek antiques. - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Greek antiques.

Taking public transit is the easiest route with the Muni Metro M Line and bus lines 28, 29, and 17 being the most direct. But for those driving, the Humanities building is on corner of Font and Tapia, and street parking is available.

The museum is open to the public from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout the regular semester. The museum will be closed during the week of Thanksgiving.

So, will this museum and it's mummy make you walk over to the campus like an Egyptian? Let us know.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?

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