Before making the long journey from Chicago to Los Angeles, the 2,500-year-old mummified remains of Minardis, the 14-year-old son of an Egyptian priest, had to be stabilized by a team of conservation experts.
On Friday, a group at the Field Museum was ready, with everyone wearing surgical gloves inside of a humidity-controlled lab. Once they were able to delicately lift up the coffin's ancient lid using specially made clamps, they saw that the mask and shroud were torn, the feet were detached, and toes were sticking out.
"The fascinating thing about any mummy is that it's survived as long as it has," conservator J.P. Brown told The Associated Press. "They're actually amazingly fragile."
The mummy has been at the Field Museum since the 1920s, and is one of 30 complete mummies from Egypt. It will go on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in 2015 and later at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Before the mummy goes on its tour, the shroud and mask will be repaired very carefully. "There's always a risk of damage," Brown said. "So we like to handle these things as little as possible."