In the spirit of Sarah Guernsey’s post about undead at the museum, I would like to relate one of the more interesting questions to have come up in the Art Institute’s legal department.
Curators can say the darndest things, but this unabridged e-mail from Karen Manchester, an ancient art curator who should have been a word economist, takes the prize:
Any laws regulating the interstate transportation of dead bodies that we should be aware of?
Upon ruling out that Karen needed the services of a criminal lawyer, I learned that her question was motivated by plans to transport a mummy to the museum. The mummy (named Wenuhotep, at the time) and its case had been on loan to an out-of-state museum for over fifty years, and now curators were interested in its return for study and display.
The Art Institute is not in the business of moving bodies, ancient or otherwise, so Karen’s question required some research. After scouring the books and consulting with colleagues at other museums, we finally determined that there did not appear to be any legal hurdles to transporting the mummy. So, after negotiating an agreement allowing the borrowing museum to create a replica of the mummy and case, the Art Institute finally got its mummy back.
The story does not end there, however, as subsequent research has revealed some interesting facts about the mummy, including that she is not the lady we thought she was… Stay tuned.
2 days 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Congratulations to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on their grand opening this weekend. The building, designed by architect David Adjaye, is a truly historic addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C. #APeoplesJourney #MakingHistory
2 days 18 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Time machines, superheroes, wild creatures, and more… JourneyMaker makes every visit to the museum an adventure.
Try this new digital interactive for families in the museum’s Ryan Learning Center, located in the Modern Wing, or print out a tour at home.
3 days 17 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Today marks the autumn equinox and the official end of summer. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the latest in ARTicle’s Sound and Vision series, matching songs from around the world with our encyclopedic collection.