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The Styberg Library’s Hibbard Mummy to be on Display at the Block Museum of Art

November 16, 2017
Hibbard Mummy


Housed permanently at the Styberg Library at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, the Hibbard mummy is currently on loan to Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art for a teaching exhibition entitled, Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt. The exhibition is scheduled to be on display January 13, 2018, through April 22, 2018, in the Alsdorf Gallery.

This exhibition will present Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits and related artifacts from the site of ancient Tebtunis in Egypt. The majority of the objects that will be on view are loans from the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, which holds one of the largest collections of mummy portraits from a single site in the world. The Berkeley materials will be complemented by the Hibbard mummy, which comes from the site of Hawara, a site close to Tebtunis. The Hibbard mummy is contemporary to the Berkeley objects, and will provide valuable context to the exhibition.

During the Fall Quarter, Northwestern students enrolled in the interdisciplinary course, “Materials Science and Socioeconomics of Portrait Mummies from Ancient Fayum” have been studying the Hibbard mummy to examine the role scientific examination plays in investigating the production of ancient Egyptian mummy portraits and how these objects fit into the larger socioeconomic context of Roman Egypt in the 2nd century CE. These explorations will be presented at the exhibition.

The Hibbard mummy (also knowns as Hawara Portrait Mummy No. 4) is a portrait mummy of a young girl, approximately five years old. This complete mummy with a portrait embedded in its wrappings will provide crucial contextual insight into the use of mummy portraits and will be of interest to researchers in such areas as the material sciences, anthropology, art history, and museum studies. This is not the first time the Hibbard mummy has been on loan. In 2000, the Hibbard mummy was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an exhibit entitled, Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Ancient Egypt.

Mrs. Lydia Beekman Hibbard received the Hibbard mummy in gratitude for her financial support of Sir Flinders Petrie’s excavations in a Roman cemetery in Hawara, Egypt in 1911. She donated the mummy to Western Theological Seminary of Chicago in 1912 to be included in the Hibbard Egyptian Library. Western Theological Seminary then merged with Seabury Divinity School to become Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. In 2009, when Seabury-Western sold their buildings and property to Northwestern University, Garrett-Evangelical purchased Seabury-Western’s library collection, including the Hibbard mummy. When not on loan, the mummy is displayed in the Styberg Library’s Reference Room.

To learn more about the Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt exhibit, click here. The Block Museum of Art is located on Northwestern University’s campus at 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois.

The Block Museum of Art is a dynamic, imaginative, and innovative teaching and learning resource for Northwestern and its surrounding communities, featuring a global exhibition program that crosses time periods and cultures and serves as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives today. The museum also commissions new work by artists to foster connections between artists and the public through the creative process. Each year, the Block mounts exhibitions; organizes and hosts lectures, symposia, and workshops involving artists, scholars, curators, and critics; and screens classic and contemporary films at its in-house cinema. The museum also reaches national and international audiences through its traveling exhibitions, publications and website. Its growing permanent collection of approximately 6,000 works focuses primarily on prints, photography, and drawings. 

The Ernest and Bernice Styberg Library (formerly the United Library) is the academic library of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Federation, Inc. The United Library was established in 1981 by the merger of the two collections and is now owned by Garrett-Evangelical. In 2017, the United Library was renamed the Ernest and Bernice Styberg Library, in recognition of their outstanding leadership in the Forging Our Future capital campaign as well as in previous campaigns. With the physical collection of about 400,000 print volumes, 600 periodical subscriptions, and other materials including microfilm reels, DVDs, and CDs and the online access to numerous databases and e- books, the Styberg Library is considered as one of the top theological research libraries in the United States.