National spotlight to shine on St. Pete museum - FOX 13 News

National spotlight to shine on St. Pete museum

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The St. Petersburg Museum of History is in for a double dose of national publicity. Tuesday, video crews from two unrelated cable television channels will shoot two unrelated segments inside the museum.

"It will bring us some really good national attention," executive director Rui Farias pointed out.

One of the shows will also leave behind a new display case for one the museum's strangest possessions: A 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy. Farias told FOX 13 News the History Channel plans a new show about building museum displays, and will feature a Pinellas Park company in that business.

"They're building a King Tut sarcophagus and all these other cool things that will be tied in, and hopefully a new home for our mummy," Farias said, adding what the display will look like will be a surprise even to the museum.

Coincidentally, the Discovery Channel will shoot an unrelated story Tuesday about the world's largest collection of autographed baseballs now on exhibit at the museum.

In addition to autographs of baseball players, the collection features baseballs autographed by presidents and other celebrities.

The mummy is one of the museum's most peculiar possessions and represents layers of history: Ancient and modern. It was part of the cargo aboard a ship carrying circus side show objects. The ship needed repairs and the captain, short on cash, paid the dockmaster with the mummy and an Egyptian sarcophagus.

"Of course now, they'd be recognized as historical objects," museum historian Nevin Sitler said. The dockmaster charged people a nickel to look at the mummy and sarcophagus until the ship repair was paid, then donated the artifacts to the then-new museum.

It was not a peculiar donation at the time.

"When the museum opened in 1922 it was...a curiosity museum," Sitler explained, "It was a little bit of Ripley's Believe It or Not."

Now, the little waterfront museum will entertain not one, but two cable TV crews on the same day -- believe it or not.

LINK: St. Petersburg Museum of History website


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