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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 11:02 UK
An Egyptian cat mummy visits Ely Museum
Egyptian cat mummy
You can meet this mummy at Ely Museum's new exhibition

A cat which is thousands of years old is visiting Ely's museum.

The Egyptian mummy is on loan from the British Museum, as part of its commitment to taking its collections out of London.

"It's been fascinating drawing together the different stories around our mummified cat," said Ely Museum curator, Elie Hughes.

The new exhibition based around the cat will be at the museum until 31 October 2010.

Ely's visitor

The exhibition builds a picture of a society where, for thousands of years, cats were central not just to daily life but also to religious belief.

In the afterlife cats were believed to be able to convey the prayers of people on earth to the gods.

To do so, like the Egyptian people themselves, they had to be mummified.

The exhibition will also look at the modern scientific techniques which have helped curators explore and understand objects from the past, such as mummies.

Families will be able to get creative with hands-on activities and visitors are invited to bring a photograph or draw a picture of their own cat to appear in a special community display.

"We're delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with the British Museum on this exhibition," said Elie Hughes.

Ely Museum

X-ray of Egyptian cat mummy
The display includes X-rays and CT scans of the Egyptian cat

The city's museum is housed in a building that dates back to the 13th Century.

It was once the Bishop's Gaol, but has also been a private house, a tavern, and a registry office.

The museum was opened at this site in 1997.

Something Borrowed

The British Museum has loaned objects to just two other museums in the East of England as part of its Something Borrowed programme.

"Ely is a beautiful city with an amazing past that people can explore in this fascinating museum," said Robert Owen, National Programmes Project coordinator from the British Museum.

"We hope that people will enjoy exploring the very different world this exhibition brings to life this summer and autumn."

For more details, go to the Ely Museum website:

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