Focused on Mississippi: The Old Capitol Mummy

Focused on Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Old Capitol Mummy once scared school kids on field trips to the state history museum.

The Old Capitol Museum got a complete redo after Hurricane Katrina took the roof off the building in 2005, and it sort of got a new mission from the State History Museum with rooms full of assorted historical artifacts, to portraying the roll it first had when it was the “New” Capitol Building.

But once a year around Halloween, the mummy comes back.

“The mummy came to the Department of Archives and History in the 1920’s as part of a larger collection of artifacts. At the time, she was believed to be an Egyptian princess,” explained Laurel Miller, director of the Old Captiol Museum.

Around 1960 when the history collection was moved to the Old Capitol and became more focused from oddities to just Mississippi’s story, the mummy wasn’t displayed because she just didn’t fit in anywhere. But in 1969, a medical student at UMMC, who remembered the mummy from his childhood, wanted to do some tests to determine its sex. The mummy had always been referred to as “she” but after some x-rays, boy, was everybody surprised! She wasn’t a she at all. Nor was she a he! The mummy was a fake.

“She’s made of papier-mache. She has some German language newspaper, nails, animal bones, all sorts of good things.”

After realizing Mississippi had been “tricked” all these years, it was decided to really put her away since. But no! The kids who had once been so fearful of her now realized they adored her, with her heart of nails and all. 

So now, our Mississippi Mummy gets a reprieve from the storeroom every October. And takes a place of honor in the rotunda of the Old Capitol and greets her fans. 

“Generations of Mississippians, in fact now. We have parents and grandparents bringing their children and grandchildren to come see her.”

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