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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Matt Saincome
Matt Saincome

Yo Juan why didn't you tell me about this before you posted on SF weekly? Now I'm gonna have to fight the crowds.

Gianluigi Coretti
Gianluigi Coretti

We have a mummy to sennd to you: his name is SILVIO BERLUSCONI. Do you accept? Thanks.

Cynthia McGarvie
Cynthia McGarvie

That is so cool. I had no idea they were there when I was there.

Linda Tovar
Linda Tovar

go check this out Cristian Anthony Tovar!

Egyptianlovers
Egyptianlovers

Wow - my family loves all things Egyptian, we will definitely check this out.

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