Preservation and Access: Preservation Assistance Grants

Period of Performance

2/1/2018 - 7/31/2019

Funding Totals

$4,621.00 (approved)
$4,047.76 (awarded)

Creating Preservation Storage Plan for Lady Ta'an

FAIN: PG-258429-18

Earlham College (Richmond, IN 47374-4095)
Ann-Eliza Lewis (Project Director: May 2017 to March 2021)

Hiring a conservator to design new permanent housing for the museum’s Egyptian mummy from the Fayum Valley, known as Lady Ta’an, which has been a focal point of the collection since 1889; the new housing will serve as the first step in a long-term storage solution for the mummy, who has been identified by X-ray analysis as a female in her early 20s. This project would facilitate further conservation treatment and study of the mummy, including closer investigation of the body, wrappings, and the painted coffin to provide relative dates and other contextual information. The project would also improve visibility so that she can be examined more thoroughly by other audiences and be better integrated into the museum’s educational programs for both the college community and the broader public.

The Joseph Moore Museum (JMM) at Earlham College (EC) seeks support to hire a conservator to design permanent, open storage housing for the museum’s mummy, Lady Ta’an. In 2007 a conservator identified climate control as a critical element in the conservation plan and set out a series of short, medium, and long term solutions. JMM staff implemented the short- and medium-term solutions. Designing a long-term storage solution is the next step and requires input from a qualified conservator who will consult with JMM staff and act as a liaison with designers. We cannot invest in conservation treatments without adequate, stable storage. Purchased in 1889 by EC’s fourth president, Lady Ta’an has been displayed continuously and remains a significant draw for visitors. As a formative object of the collection, preserving Lady Ta’an is integral to preserving the museum’s history. The JMM’s humanities collections are used in many EC courses across all disciplines.

Media Coverage

National Endowment for the Humanities Supporting Restoration of Earlham's Mummy (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Brian Zimmerman
Publication: Earlham College's Website
Date: 2/1/2018
Abstract: Press release posted to Earlham College's website.

Museum at Earlham College gets funds for mummy restoration project (Media Coverage)
Publication: Palladium-Item
Date: 5/6/2018
Abstract: Article posted to as well as front page of paper.

Earlham College gets funding to help preserve Egyptian mummy (Media Coverage)
Publication: South Bend Tribune
Date: 2/10/2018
Abstract: Story picked up from AP. RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — An Egyptian mummy that's a star attraction at an eastern Indiana college's museum is closer to getting a climate-controlled chamber that will help preserve the ancient relic. The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded Earlham College's Joseph Moore Museum more than $4,600 for design work on the temperature-controlled storage case. Once the design work is done, the museum will seek funding to build the case that will preserve the mummy and her colorfully-painted sarcophagus. The mummy is that of "Lady Ta'an," who was the daughter of an Egyptian priest. She lived between 300 and 30 B.C. Lady Ta'an arrived in 1889 at the Richmond campus about 65 miles east of Indianapolis. She survived a 1924 fire and is believed to be one of only two mummies in Indiana.