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Past Exhibitions

Below are brief descriptions of past Kelsey exhibitions, many preserved in online versions. The accordion buttons will bring up short descriptions of each show. 

Course Display Case: Women of Etruria

December 2016-March  2017 MORE INFORMATION
Curator: Elaine Gazda  

This exhibit, highlighting the lives of Etruscan women, was prepared by students in Professor Elaine Gazda’s class on Etruscan Art and Archaeology (Fall 2016) who selected the theme, did research on the objects, and participated in designing components of the display.

2016–2017: Less Than Perfect

August 26, 2016–January 8, 2017 MORE INFORMATION
Curator: Carla Sinopoli VIEW THE EXHIBITION WEBSITE

In our society, we are taught to strive for and expect perfection. Yet throughout our lives, we learn as much or more from our flaws and failures as we do from our successes. Less Than Perfect celebrates failure and the lessons it teaches. Featuring objects that span more than 2000 years and four continents, this exhibition explores the stories they tell about their makers, their making, and their use. 

2016: Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii

February 19–May 15, 2016 MORE INFORMATION
Curator: Elaine Gazda VIEW THE EXHIBITION WEBSITE
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Organized in cooperation with the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii and the Oplontis Project at the University of Texas, this international traveling exhibition explored the lavish lifestyle and economic interests of ancient Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens, who vacationed along the Bay of Naples. 

2015: Passionate Curiosities:  Collecting in Egypt & the Near East, 1880s–1950s

August 28–November 29, 2015

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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What circumstances formed the artifact-biographies of the collected objects we see in museum display cases? Passionate Curiosities, curated by Margaret Cool Root, invites visitors to meet some of the remarkable people—from eminent scientists to missionaries, from consuls to entrepreneurs, from scholars to swash-buckling adventurers—who forged the Egyptian and Near Eastern collections of the Kelsey Museum between the 1880s and the 1950s.

2015: Rocks, Paper, Memory: Wendy Artin's Watercolor Paintings of Ancient Sculptures

Phase I: June 5–July 26, 2015

Phase II: September 25–October 25, 2015

Curator: Christopher Ratté

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An American artist living in Rome, Wendy Artin worked for over a decade on a series of watercolor paintings of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and related subjects. This exhibition featured a selection of her paintings.

2015: Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt

February 6–May 3, 2015

Curator: Terry Wilfong

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The exhibition “Death Dogs” explored the history of some unusual mythical beings: Anubis, Wepwawet, and the other jackal gods of ancient Egypt. 

2014–2015: Pearls of Wisdom: The Arts of Islam at the University of Michigan

October 15, 2014–January 4, 2015

Curators: Christiane Gruber and Ashley Dimmig

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The objects included in this exhibition served a wide variety of functions and span several centuries in time. Rather than arranged chronologically, geographically, or by media, the objects in the exhibition were organized by themes inspired by the medieval calligrapher Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, who equated the calligrapher's art of beautiful writing to a jeweler string pearls. 

2014: Ancient/Modern: The Design of Everyday Things

June 27–September 7, 2014

Curator: Sebastián Encina

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The exhibition "Ancient/Modern: The Design of Everyday Things" introduced visitors to the concept that artifacts have existed for longer than they imagine, serving the needs of humanity for millennia. 

2013-2014: Life in Miniature: Identity and Display at Ancient Seleucia-on-the-Tigris

December 20, 2013–March 16, 2014

Curators: Sharon Herbert and Stephanie M. Langin-Hooper

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Why have so many people throughout history created miniature objects, and what do they mean? How do the miniatures made by a particular society reflect the identities and values of its populace? "Life in Miniature" investigated these questions using miniature objects from the ancient Seleucid capital.

2013: Discovery! Excavating the Ancient World

August 30–November 10, 2013

Curator: Janet Richards

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This exhibition illustrated the many different paths we take to answering questions about the ancient world. In sections on Mapping, Translating, Imaging, Conserving, Investigating, Archiving, and Listening visitors explored the wide range of expertise and methods used to understand the ancient world. "Discovery!" emphasized the process of archaeological research with examples from projects affiliated with the Kelsey Museum. 

2013: Red Rock & Rust Belt: A Tale of Two Cities

June 30–July 21, 2013

Curator: Susan Webb

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This exhibition of photographs by Susan Webb revealed the connections between two great cities that do not readily suggest comparison: the modern city of Detroit, Michigan, and the ancient site of Petra in modern Jordan.

2013: Kelsey Contemporaries: Kayla Romberger and Alisha Wessler

March 15–June 16, 2013

Curator: Terry Wilfong

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This exhibition featured the multimedia work of two Master of Fine Arts students from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design and Museum Studies Program. The artists explord themes of collection, museological display, and material culture in the context of an archaeological museum.

2012–2013: Conserving Antiquity

November 2, 2012–February 10, 2013

Curators: Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello

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This exhibition focused on the field of conservation, the deterioration of objects and archaeological sites, the work of conservators, and the importance of preserving material culture.

2012: A Man of Many Parts: The Life and Legacy of Francis Willey Kelsey

June 8–September 16, 2012

Curator: Elaine Gazda

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This special exhibition  focused on the museum’s namesake, Professor Francis Willey Kelsey. Beyond the museum’s own collection, the exhibition showcased examples of rare manuscripts and ancient papyri purchased with funds Kelsey raised.

2012: Hours of Infinity: Twelve Hours of Infinity: Amduat

March 2012

Curators: John Kannenberg and Terry Wilfong

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Artist and UM Art and Design student John Kannenberg's work for "Hours of Infinity" combined a rigorously  imprecise drawing method with a disciplined approach to sonic observation and documentation. His drawings were inspired by the Egyptian Amduat, examples of  which can be found in the Kelsey Museum collection. 

2011, 2012: Karanis Revealed: The Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt

Part I: September 16 to December 8, 2011

Part II: January 27 to May 6, 2012 

Curators: Terry Wilfong and Andrew W.S. Ferrara

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This exhibition illuminated the historical records of a single village community in the Egyptian countryside during the Graeco-Roman period. It also explored the story of the site’s excavation, initiated by the University of Michigan in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as subsequent and upcoming research on the recovered material and its context. 

2011–2012: Dominated and Demeaned: Representations of the Other

October 21, 2011–January 29, 2012

Curator: Margaret Root

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VISITORS' COMMENTS

This small exhibition was presented in conjunction with a fall term course, History of Art 286 “Art and Empire in Antiquity.” The show placed images illustrating ancient Egyptian tropes of the enemy Other in dialogue with a display of household artifacts produced for White America in the early to mid-20th century. 

2011: Envisioning Antioch: A Roman Colony in Asia Minor

June 19–August 7, 2011

Curator: Elaine Gazda

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This exhitibion explored the Roman site of Antioch of Pisidia in Asia Minor (Turkey--a Greek city refounded by Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, in 25 BC as an imperial colony). The city is best known to the modern world as a destination on the missionary journeys of St. Paul in the first century AD, recounted in the book of Acts. 

2010, 2011: Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium

October 1, 2010–May 29, 2011 (two parts)

Curator: Lauren Talalay

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This exhibition presented a series of ultra-large-scale photographs by the renowned Turkish photographer Ahmet Ertug, focusing on paintings, mosaics, and architecture of the Byzantine world.

2009-2010: Mary Upjohn Meader: Pioneering Adventures over Africa

November 1, 2009–July 6, 2010

Curators: Lauren Talalay and Janet Richards 

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This special exhibition, the first in the Upjohn Exhibit Wing, featured some of the dramatic aerial photographs that Mary Meader took over Egypt in 1937, before modern development had encroached on the pyramids and other ancient monuments.

2006: Building a New Rome: The Imperial Colony of Pisidian Antioch

January 13–February 24, 2006

Curator: Elaine Gazda

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From January 13 to February 24, 2006, at the Duderstadt center on the University of Michigan north campus, the Kelsey Museum mounted an exhibition on the Roman site of Antioch of Pisidia in Asia Minor (Turkey)—a Hellenistic city refounded by Augustus in 25 BC as a Roman colony.

2002: Cavafy's World: Ancient Passions

February 21–May 5, 2002

Curators: Lauren Talalay and Artemis Leontis

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Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933), the eminent Greek Alexandrian poet, often drew inspiration from the ancient world, particularly the classical and late antique spheres that are so well represented by the Kelsey collections. Cavafy's presence at the Kelsey invites the visitor to contemplate a dialogue between modern poetry and archaeology. 

2001: The Fabric of Everyday Life: Textiles from Karanis, Egypt

The enduring importance of fabric in our everyday lives—for clothing, furnishings, symbolic communication, and commerce—is underscored by the study of historic cloth.

2000-2001: Animals in the Kelsey!

2000-2001                                                          VIEW THE EXHIBITION WEBSITE

Love them, hate them, use them, abuse them: animals are everywhere in our lives. The argument could be made, however, that they were more important to the peoples of ancient Greece and Rome. U-M undergraduates considered this and many other issues as they designed and helped to organize an exhibition.

2000: Villa of the Mysteries

October 1–November 19, 2000

Curator: Elaine Gazda

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Among the great masterpieces of ancient art, the Villa of the Mysteries fresco paintings have fascinated scholars and inspired visual artists with depictions of women engaged in mysterious rituals. In the 1920s University of Michigan Professor Francis Kelsey commissioned Italian artist Maria Barosso to create a nearly life-sized representation of the Villa frescoes. 

2000: Surrounded by the View: Panoramic Photographs from the Kelsey Museum Archives

January–August 2000

Curator: Robin Meador-Woodruff

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In 1919 and 1920, photographer George R. Swain accompanied Francis Kelsey on an expedition that circled through Europe and the Mediterranean area. The purpose of the expedition was to document sites that were of interest to classical history scholars, as well as to identify sites that might have potential for future excavations. Swain produced a series of magnificent panoramic views of many of the sites he and Kelsey visited. 

1999: Music in Roman Egypt

1999

Curator: Terry Wilfong                     

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The Kelsey Museum houses a unique collection of excavated musical instruments from fieldwork in Karanis and elsewhere in Egypt, as well as artifacts that relate to musical instruments and the people who played them. 

1998: Early Islamic Inscribed Textiles

1998

Curator: Thelma K. Thomas

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Inscribed textiles record valuable information concerning broad historical trends. They document increasing government control over the textile industry, names of officials and rulers associated with these prestige items, the spread of Arabic language, the phenomenal popularity of the written word, as well as the special economic force of gift giving.

1998: Reconstructing Personal Style in Late Antique Egypt

1998

Curator: Thelma K. Thomas

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Today we express aspects of our identity in our choice of clothing. This is nothing new: people in ancient societies made similar visual statements. This exhibit, which focused on the 4th to 7th centuries CE, used textiles from the Kelsey Museum's collections to explore the expressive potential of fashion in late antiquity. 

1997: Sepphoris in Galilee: Crosscurrents of Culture

September 7–December 14, 1997

Curators: Elaine Gazda and Elise Friedland

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An exhibition that focused on the archaeological site of Sepphoris (known as Zippori in Hebrew), which was once an important city in Roman Palestine.

1997: A Taste of the Ancient World

Fall 1996–July 21, 1997  

Curators:  Susan E. Alcock and Melanie D. Grunow                

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A student-produced exhibit exploring food in the ancient world.

1997: Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt: From Prehistory to Late Antiquity

March 14 - June 15 1997

Curators: Terry Wilfong and Traianos Gagos

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An exhibition that examined the evidence for women's lives in ancient Egypt and the wider issues of gender definition and roles.

1996-1997: Images of Empire: Flavian Fragments in Rome and Ann Arbor Rejoined

September 1996–February 17, 1997

Curators: Elaine Gazda and Anne Haeckl

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Newly rejoined fragments of Roman sculpture from the Flavian dynasty.

1996: A Victorian's Passion: Lithographs of Egypt and the Near East by David Roberts

1996

Curator: Lauren Talalay

 

1996: Visitors' Views of Ancient Nubia

1996

Curators: Lauren Talalay and R. K. Loomis

 

1996: Death in Ancient Egypt: Preserving Eternity

1996

Curators: Janet Richards and Terry G. Wilfong

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Egyptian Funerary Artifacts in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

1996: Caught Looking: Exhibiting the Kelsey

Spring 1996

Student Curators: Mariana Giovino, Carla Goodnoh, Kristina Milnor, Jennifer Trimble

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An experimental student-curated exhibition on ways of seeing and exhibiting artifacts in a museum context. 

1995: Ancient Nubia: Egypt's Rival in Africa

September 29–December 15

Curators: David O'Connor and Thelma K. Thomas

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The Kelsey's installation of the traveling exhibit loaned by the University of Pennsylvania's University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as an installation of photographs from the Kelsey's permanent collections documenting the First Aswan Dam. 

1994: Byzantium: University of Michigan Collections and Expeditions

Fall 1994

Curator: Thelma K. Thomas 

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1993: From Riches to Rags: Indian Block-Printed Textiles Traded to Egypt

April–June 1993

Curators: Ruth Barnes and Thelma Thomas

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The Kelsey Museum's collection of Indian block-printed textiles traded to Egypt was acquired from a Cairo dealer during the 1930s and early 1950s, but this 1993 exhibition, researched and organized by Dr. Ruth Barnes, marked the first time the material was displayed in its entirety. Now, in this virtual reinstallation of that exhibition, examples of these medieval trade cloths are again made accessible. 

1991–1992: The Beginning of Understanding: Writing in the Ancient World

1991–1992

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1991: Images of Italy: Archaeology and the Aesthetic Eye of Esther B. Van Deman

1991

Curator: Elaine Gazda

 

1991: The Sigmund Freud Antiquities: Fragments from a Buried Past

1991

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1990–1991: Dangerous Archaeology: Francis Willey Kelsey and Armenia (1919-1920)

Fall 1990–February 28, 1991

Curator: Thelma K. Thomas

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1990: The President's Choice

1990

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

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1990: Crowning Glories: Persian Kingship and the Power of Creative Continuity

1990

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1989–1990: Art and Holy Powers in the Early Christian House

1989–1990

Curators: E. and H. Maguire with Marti Lu Allen

 

1989: The Parish Church of Saint-Maclou in Rouen: Late Gothic Plan Design in Art and Normandy

1989

Curator: L. Neagley

 

1989: Touring the Ruins: Vintage Photographs and Postcards of the Ancient World

1989

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1989: Frankincense and Myrrh

1989

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1989: Ancient Locks and Keys

1989

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1989: A Selection of Textiles from Mediaeval Egypt

1989

Curator: Thelma Thomas

 

1988: Symbol and Artifact: Creative Expression in the Stone Age

1988

Curators: Marti Lu Allen and Lauren Talalay

 

1988: The Hand of Man

1988

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1988: Greek Vases: A Special Collection

1988

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1988: Egyptian Mummies: From Ancient Cult to Modern Science

1988

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1987: A Portrait Mosaic from Gerasa in Roman Syria

1987

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1987: Caravan! Ancient and Mediaeval Destinies Across the Sand

1987

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1986–1987: Ancient Clothmaking

1986–1987

Curator: A. Rosenberg

 

1986: The Cameron Squeezes from Behistun: Salvaging a Record of Persian Art and History

1986

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

 

1986: Coins and Chemistry: Scientific Methods of Mint Identification and Forgery, Detection in Ancient Silver

1986

Curators: A. Gordus with Marti Lu Allen

 

1986: Ancient Terracottas: Lasting Impressions of the Distant Past

1986

Curator: Marti Lu Allen

 

1986: Twenty Five Years of Discovery at Sardis

1986

Curator: Elaine Gazda

 

1986: Portals to Eternity: The Necropolis at Terenouthis in Lower Egypt

1986

Curator: Roger McCleary

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1985: Image and Artifact: Ancient Art from the Detroit Institute of Art

1985

Curator: T. Motz

 

1985: Ancient Cyprus: Confluence of Culture in the Mediterranean

1985

Curator: F. Albertson

 

1985: Piecing Together the Past: The Art of Archaeology

1985

Curator: M. Morden

 

1984–1985: Ancient Needlework

1984-1985

Curator: A. Rosenberg

 

1984: The Art of Seals: Aesthetic and Social Dynamics of the Impressed Image from Antiquity to the Present

1984

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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1983: In Pursuit of Antiquity: Thomas Spencer Jerome and the Bay of Naples (1899- 1914)

1983

Curator: Elaine Gazda

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1983: Karanis: An Egyptian Town in Roman Times

1983

Curators: E. K. Gazda with A. Berlin and J. Royer

 

1982: Wondrous Glass: Reflections on the World of Rome ca. 50 BC - AD 650

1982

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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1982: A Scientist Views the Past: The Goudsmit Collection of Egyptian Antiquities

1982

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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1981: Vaults of Memory: Jewish and Christian Imagery in the Catacombs of Rome

1981

Curators: E.K. Gazda with E. Brettman

 

1981: The Mint and the Message: 1000 Years of Currency from Darius to Justinian

1981

Curator: P. Visona

 

1981: Decorative Arts of Coptic and Islamic Egypt

1981

Curator: E. Higashi

 

1981: Greek Sculpture in Transition: 450 BC - 200 AD

1981

Curator John G. Pedley

 

1980: Victorian Views of Ancient Rome

1980

Curators: Judith Keller and Kenneth A. Breisch

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1980: The Art of the Ancient Weaver

1980

Curator: A. Rosenberg

 

1979–1980: Faces of Immortality

1979–1980

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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1979: Carthage Then and Now

1979

Curators: Elaine Gazda and John Humphrey

 

1978: Guardians of the Nile

1978

Curator: Margaret Cool Root

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1978: Fortress of Faith

1978

Curators: E.K.Gazda, G. Forsyth, and F. Anderegg

 

1978: Islamic Art from the University of Michigan Collections

1978

Curator: P. Soucek

 

1977: The Gods of Egypt in the Graeco-Roman Period

1977

Curator: Elaine Gazda

 

1977: Seleucia-on-the-Tigris: An Exhibition of the Excavations at Seleucia, Iraq by the University of Michigan, 1927-32, 1936-37

1977

Curator: E. Savage

 

1977: Roman Portraiture: Ancient and Modern Revivals

1977

Curator: Elaine Gazda

 

1976: Greek Vases from Boston

1976

Curators: Sharon Herbert and Elaine Gazda

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