WOULD you take your child to see a dead body this half-term? Well, if you’ve been to a museum where Egyptian mummies are on display, you’ll have done just that.

But is it ethical to include mummified bodies in museum exhibitions? A recent documentary raising the issue of how artefacts should be displayed has sparked debate as to whether or not the bodies of long deceased people, preserved by mummification, should be on public display.

Television presenter Konnie Huq believes it is “disrespectful”. It is, she says, a cultural issue and only acceptable if consent has been given. In places such as Indonesia, where bodies are exhumed after a few years of burial and paraded to celebrate the deceased and their lives, such exhibitionism of the dead is a cultural ritual. Ancient mummies, however, presumably didn’t have a say on whether they were okay with being dug up and laid out on display in air conditioned museums for all and sundry to gawp at.

Is it an issue of respect? We know from ancient Egyptian texts that they believed the souls of the dead were guided to the afterlife by gods. Is this process disturbed when their bodies are exhumed, thousands of years later? Even if we don’t share their afterlife beliefs, shouldn’t we respect them?

Part of me thinks we should - but I also think it’s important to learn about, and from, history. And we wouldn’t know much about past civilisations without the tools and utensils they used, the places they lived and died in, and the bodies that were left behind.

To a party of schoolchildren, seeing human remains preserved over centuries brings history alive, and helps them to learn. Looking at a plastic dummy just isn’t as exciting. I remember as a child seeing a real Egyptian mummy, and a mummified cat too, in a museum. It fascinated me, I’ve never forgotten it. I thought about the person behind the bandages - what their life was like, what they ate and wore, how they died, and were buried - and it made ancient history seem more real. I thought about the cat too.

A friend who has been to pyramids in Egypt said she came “alarmingly close” to mummified bodies, albeit under the watchful eyes of armed guards, and it made her children more engaged with the history and culture of places they visited out there.

Much of history was macabre, that’s often what makes it interesting. Children love the unpleasant bits of the past - it’s what former teacher Terry Deary tapped into so brilliantly in his Horrible Histories books, bringing to life the Vile Victorians, Slimy Stuarts and Terrible Tudors in gruesome, but child-friendly, detail.

I wish my school history lessons had been more colourful. My exam curriculum was all about the Industrial Revolution and, much as I enjoyed it, I’d liked to have learned about other periods too. The furthest I got on a history trip was the Industrial Museum to look at silent weaving looms. My nephew is on a school trip to Poland this week, and is going to Auschwitz as part of history lessons on the Holocaust. It could be argued that the death camp is a ‘museum of the dead’ but it’s important to visit it to understand what took place there. When I went to Auschwitz, years after school, I was particularly moved by piles of suitcases and spectacles belonging to those who arrived there.

The human face of the past is what makes it more accessible - and keeps it alive for a future when we, too, will be history.

* I DON'T really get baby showers. It's a rather tacky American ritual that has crossed the Atlantic over recent years and now, along with the school prom, it's as if its always been here.

The Duchess of Sussex had macarons and tea at her baby shower at an upmarket New York hotel, Harper's Bazaar has revealed. Her friends were seen arriving with gifts and balloons.

Traditionally, we give presents once a baby is born. Now we're expected to give them before the birth too. Isn't a baby shower a bit greedy? An excuse for more presents, perhaps?

* GOOD to see Bradford's new underground market in Sunbridge Wells doing well. Local start-up companies are snapping up free stall spaces to sell a range of produce, from vinyl records to baby knitwear. Market manager Paul Gallagher says small businesses are thriving under the venture and hopes to spread stalls further into the subterranean complex.

I think Sunbridge Wells is one of the best things to happen to Bradford. It was 13 years ago when Graham Hall peered into the network of Victorian tunnels, using just the light from his mobile phone to see into the darkness. Thanks to his vision and determination, the old brewery site is now a remarkable labyrinth of bars, restaurants and shops. It's something no other city has. Be proud of it - and use it.