Fact Check-The British Museum has not banned the word ‘mummy’

Widespread claims that the British Museum has prohibited use of the term “mummy” in its exhibitions are untrue, according to the institution.

Social media users shared posts claiming that the British Museum has banned “mummy” from its historic exhibits, favoring instead more “woke” descriptions such as “mummified person” (here, here).

However, a British Museum spokesperson told Reuters via email: “The Museum hasn’t banned the use of the term ‘mummy’ and it is still in use across our galleries.”

Both the terms “mummy” and “mummified remains of…” feature across current displays and exhibitions at the museum, the spokesperson said. “Displays and exhibitions created by the Museum have emphasized that mummified remains are of people who once lived.”

There are no plans for the word “mummy” to be phased out, the spokesperson added.

In some cases, the false claims appeared to be prompted by a newspaper article describing multiple museums and their changing use of the term mummy (here). The Daily Mail report claimed the British Museum had banned the word “mummy” but has since been updated (here ).


False. The British Museum has not banned the term “mummy” and uses both “mummy” and “mummified remains of…” in its displays and exhibitions, a spokesperson for the institution said.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .