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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Editorial: Central’s mummy is unique, but that doesn’t mean it has a purpose

Editorial%3A+Central%E2%80%99s+mummy+is+unique%2C+but+that+doesn%E2%80%99t+mean+it+has+a+purpose
Alice Wang

Central’s ancient Egyptian mummy was 3D-scanned by Egyptologist Carlo Rindi Nuzzolo on April 9 as a part of his research project. Nuzzolo’s visit raised some questions from within the editorial board regarding this mummy’s purpose and place at Central.

Having a mummy at Central is inarguably an odd situation to begin with. As far as we know, Central is the only high school in the nation in possession of a genuine mummy. Sure, it’s something fun to brag about, and it’s interesting the first couple of times you pass by it, but after that you start to forget about it. If we’re trying to find a model for how to better handle having a mummy, well, there is none- no other high school has ever been in this situation. So where do we go from here?

In the eyes of this editorial board, Central’s mummy serves little purpose in the school: it provides limited educational value and benefits relatively few people.  Thus, in our view,  it would be better off in a museum where it could reach the audience it deserves.

There are two reasons why someone might want the mummy to stay at Central: tradition and its use in our curriculum. The mummy was donated to the school in the 1940s, meaning it has been at Naperville Central longer than any staff or students. But even in the 80 or so years the mummy has been here,  it doesn’t appear to have much of a legacy or tradition. At one point, it was completely lost, sitting hidden in a storage room for years, and for years before that it sat in Central’s library and wasn’t used all that much. This mummy clearly doesn’t hold a high amount of historic significance to our school.

Then there’s the educational aspect. As of now, the mummy is not used much as a part of Central’s curriculum. Several social studies classes – particularly World History – use the mummy as a teaching tool for Ancient Egypt units, but that seems to be about it. 

Now, there could be an argument made for bringing the mummy into a more publicly traveled space at Central. Its current home in the social studies office means it is essentially tucked away, out of view from the average student or staff member. Moving it to a more prominent location could bring more attention to the mummy. However, this could also make maintenance more difficult, since it would probably be in a sunnier area with less climate control (which is vital to maintaining the mummy). And let’s be honest, do we really trust 2,500 students to simply leave it alone? Something bad is bound to happen, so let’s just avoid that possibility altogether. 

The editorial board of the Central Times believes that the mummy would be best served in a museum where it can serve a broader audience and have better educational value. If the mummy were moved to an institution like the Field Museum in Chicago, it could reach millions of visitors per year who would experience viewing our mummy as part of a larger Egyptian exhibit. In this case, the mummy would sit alongside many other artifacts from Ancient Egypt, allowing it to contribute to a much more informative experience.

The mummy’s history as an artifact at Central is obviously important to several members of the school community. It’s something too unique and important to erase. If the mummy were to be moved to another location, there would have to be some sort of tribute to its time at Central, a send-off, if you will. A typical museum plaque with some reading about the mummy (including details about its arrival and history at Central) would make for some interesting information for any visitors to see. It’s an unusual path for a mummy to have taken, so this should absolutely be highlighted. 

Central’s mummy has the potential to be something of high educational importance, but can’t do that while sitting in an office. This mummy is too good for its current use, so let’s work to find a home where it can be revered as it deserves and see its historical value best put to use.

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About the Contributor
Alice Wang
Alice Wang, Page Designer & Editorial Cartoonist
Alice Wang is a junior, and is entering their third year with Central Times. Alice loves comics and animation, and plans on majoring in Film Production. Along with being an editorial cartoonist and page designer for the Times, Alice is also the general manager of Chinese Club, and plans on playing Badminton for Central. In their free time, they enjoy reading poorly-written webcomics, watching horror films, sleeping and conjuring up ideas to pitch to film studios in the future.
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