12

TUESDAY

Ancient Egyptians liked to take their animals with them everywhere—even the beyond. But lest you linger in blissful reveries of hieroglyphic-bandanna-wrapped doggies fetching King Amenhotep’s spectral Frisbees, Salima Ikram, co-director of the Animal Mummy Project at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, points out that some were “victual mummies…preserved and entombed with dead humans so the humans would have food in the next life.” Whether put up as otherworldly picnics, pets, or sacred offerings, these excavated mummies often met with postmortem indignities: By the 19th century, thousands of them were being sent to Europe to serve as ballast on ships and would later be converted to fertilizer. Today, though, you can adopt a mummy: For a “sacred offering” to the museum, Ikram will send you a photo and an X-ray of your very docile long-distance pet. Ikram lectures on “Secrets of the Animal Mummies of Ancient Egypt” at 6 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum’s Ring Auditorium, 7th and Independence Avenue SW. $13. (202) 357-3030. (Pamela Murray Winters)