“The Egyptian mummy is my favorite,” said Lynn Allen, the administrator of Oak Park District 97’s popular Multicultural Center, based at Percy Julian Middle School.
“We knew it was coming. We ordered it from a store in Elk Grove Village,” Allen said. “Our office overlooks the parking lot. All of a sudden, we hear this roar and screaming. We went running to the window and these guys have this truck with this sarcophagus on it and kids are going wild.”
The mummy is one of more than 18,000 artifacts from all over the world that Allen said students are free to touch and open (“We’ve got scotch tape,” she said to one patron). That’s part of what motivates people to donate their family heirlooms and hand-me-downs, Allen said. They know that the value will be appreciated on a visceral level.
Currently, the center is in the middle of a transition. After next year, it will have to find a home elsewhere in the community due to Julian needing the center’s location for classroom space.
According to D97 superintendent Al Roberts, it isn’t a matter of whether or not the center relocates, but where.
“It’s never been the intent of this administration, nor do I think it should be for future administrations, to do anything than to rebuild and make the Multicultural Center even better tomorrow than it’s been.”