2015: Passionate Curiosities: Collecting in Egypt & the Near East, 1880s–1950s
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
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
2014–2015: Pearls of Wisdom: The Arts of Islam at the University of Michigan
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.