Top embalming historian on site to deconstruct Seattle’s famous mummy “Sylvester”
An international film crew is coming to Kirkland’s Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s funeral service lab on August 6 to complete interviews for “Mummies Alive!,” a new international television series scheduled to debut in 2015.
In this episode, embalming historian Jon Austin will demonstrate preservation techniques used to embalm Sylvester, Seattle’s own Ye Olde Curiosity Shop mummy. Legend has it that Sylvester was preserved by dry desert sands, but scientists have found evidence that he was actually embalmed with arsenic. He has been on display in Seattle since 1955 and is a key attraction at the Seattle landmark. Read More >>
Although Sylvester was embalmed nearly 120 years ago, show producers sought a state-of-the-art lab as a backdrop for the contemporary interview. The lab has multiple tables, all tools of the trade, refrigerated lockers for storage, and mannequins to practice facial reconstruction.
“We have to make sure our research is 100 percent accurate and our experts are leaders in their field,” said Mick Grogan, director for Saloon Media. “That’s why we’re delighted to have the opportunity to film the unique facilities at Lake Washington’s funeral service lab.”
Nearly every Seattleite and every Seattle tourist knows Sylvester, but not everyone knows his organs are well preserved and scientists can access his organs through a hole in his abdomen. This allows the use of endoscopic tools to retrace his life and death.
Funeral Service Program
The unique Funeral Service Education program is a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program that prepares students for employment as funeral service directors or professional embalmers. The program is the only accredited funeral service education degree program in Washington State and one of only a few on the West Coast
“It is a privilege to assist Saloon Media on this project,” said Lauren Budrow, Funeral Service Education Program Director. “We embrace the opportunity to educate the public about the history of body preservation. From mummification to present-day embalming, preservation techniques have been used for centuries, assisting the bereaved in saying good-bye to their loved ones.”