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  • Writer's pictureRui Pinho

The Barnum Museum Mummy comes to life!

When it comes to video editing, one of my favorite video production jobs I've worked on was the facial reconstruction of the mummy from the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT. A co-worker and I took the train into New York City with video equipment in hand. I was excited because of how unique this project was. The facial reconstruction was of the 4,000-year-old mummy that The Barnum Museum called Pa-Ib. Pa-Ib found her way to the Museum when she was donated to the by P.T. Barnum's second wife, Nancy Fish after she reportedly obtained it from the "American Consul at Cairo" in 1896. The project was part of a week-long course taught by Forensic imaging specialist Larry N. "Joe" Mullins in March 2019 at the New York Academy of Art. After being able to 3D scan the skull, the Museum hired us to document the process of facial reconstruction. Joe's role was to recreate the likeness of the Museum's Egyptian mummy from the printed skull, and our job was to document the process. It's hard to ignore just how much of an art form this is. Meticulously layering facial muscles and then sculpting the skin takes this skull to an actual human being that lived at some point four thousand years ago. I hope that my video edit shows the artform in play. It's almost as if "Joe" rescues this woman lost to time. What you see below is essentially a taste of a larger project being worked on by the Museum. Still, being able to see what a 4000-year-old woman looked like is an extraordinary opportunity.

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