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[Portland Bliss] OMSI: Mummies of the World Exhibit

If you’re headed to Portland, Oregon this summer, there are a ton of exciting events, exhibits, and festivals happening. Summer is when Portland really comes alive. One of the most touted events of this summer, however, is more about the non-living.  

Mummies of the World exhibit, Portland, OR

(photo above courtesy of Mummies of the World, The Exhibition)

Mummies of the World is the largest collection of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, and currently is enjoying the last stop on its world tour at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, Oregon. OMSI is a popular family destination for locals and tourists alike, and there has been much buzz about the Mummies of the World exhibit. More specifically, many parents are questioning: is the exhibit appropriate for my kids?

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the Mummies of the World exhibit with my two Bliss Kids, ages six and nine.

OMSI Portland, Oregon Mummies Exhibit 2013

While my son was excited to attend the exhibit (“Mummies are so cool!”), my younger daughter was less so. She was curious about the mummies and had a lot of questions, but was nervous and unsure; mummies were fine in cartoons, but the fact that they were real and she would be seeing some in real life was a scary concept to her.

Prior to attending, I reviewed The Parent’s Guide that OMSI provides with my kids. It is a brief but complete free resource full of helpful information and questions and answers to review with kids to help prepare them for what they will see in the exhibit. For those of you planning to attend this exhibit with kids under the age of 12, I highly recommend reviewing The Parent’s Guide before you go to the exhibit. It really helped prep my littlest one for what she would be seeing.

Armed with more information about mummies, but still with a hint of hesitation, my six-year-old bravely faced the mummies of men, women, children, and animals from Asia, South America, Europe, and ancient Egypt.

OMSI - Mummy 02

The kids enjoyed reading the plaques describing the mummified objects behind the glass displays, especially the stories surrounding each mummy. We also turned it into a mini-geography lesson as we talked about where each mummified item came from. They couldn’t believe they were seeing items that were as old as 6,500 years old! “That’s older than Grandpa!” my daughter joked at one point.

While the mummy children freaked them out, they were particularly fascinated by the mummified animal artifacts, such as the Mummy of a Dog…

OMSI - Mummy 03

…but the absolute favorite part of the exhibit for both kids was the Howler Monkey mummy. It was, indeed, pretty amazing.

Howler Monkey mummies of the world exhibit portland, oregon

(photo above courtesy of Mummies of the World, The Exhibition)

Would I recommend the Mummies of the World, The Exhibition for young kids? It really depends on your child. My six-year-old is really not afraid of much in life, but this exhibit was on the verge of being too much for her. She still can’t fully grasp the concept of mummification, and she started to get scared after a few minutes. She actually exclaimed at one point “Are we almost done? This is starting to creep me out…” My nine-year-old understands mummification, and thought parts of it were cool, but after half of the exhibit, in his eyes, it was just more of the same. I think that older kids who are in the 12-18 age range would really appreciate the exhibit more. There’s a lot of cool history in this exhibit, and fascinating science combined with 3D technology.

While it is the largest collection of mummies and related artifacts, you should know that it doesn’t take a long time to go through the exhibit. We stopped at a majority of the displays, taking time to read the descriptions and chat about the science and geography, and we were in and out in less than 20 minutes.

You can visit Mummies of the World, The Exhibition, at OMSI in Portland, Oregon now through September 8, 2013. If you do go with your kids, I would love to hear what their experience was. Did they enjoy it? Were they scared? Was it worth it to you? 

Mummies of the World, The Exhibition
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
1945 SE Water Avenue
Portland, Oregon
Through September 8, 2013

Monday – Thursday & Sunday:9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday:9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Adults (14-62):$21.00
Seniors (63+):$19.00
Students (14+W/ID):$19.00
Youth (3-13):$13.00
Adult Members (14-62):$14.00
Senior Members (63+):$14.00
Youth Members (3-13):$10.00

Food + Drink + Travel writer. Adventurer, mom, biz owner ( In constant pursuit of all that is creative & fun. Email: info (at) urbanblisslife (dot) com.

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