The Museum’s Egyptian mummy has been in this community for 100 years and at the Museum for over 75 years. The mummy is only one of several hundred Egyptian artifacts cared for in the Museum's collection.
The mummy first arrived in the United States in 1894, making her way to Kalamazoo in 1910. The mummy’s presence in the museum’s collection represents a time when mass desecration of ancient burial sites was commonplace. Whether the mummy was looted in a period contemporary to her burial or exhumed at a later time by archaeologists or grave robbers is unclear.
The donor of the mummy, Donald O. Boudeman, was a wealthy man in the insurance business in Kalamazoo. He was an avid collector and was very involved in the museum’s early history, giving himself the title of Curator of Archaeology and volunteering to set up exhibits. As with many early museum donors, Boudeman would also display in his home pieces acquired during his travels in order to further exhibit his wealth and build his community status. During this era, items were often collected from other cultures with little regard for the communities that were potentially being deprived of their heritage, which illustrates the larger context of how the act of collecting and the antiquities trade played out during the 19th and 20th centuries.