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Upcoming Exhibitions

Ancient Color

Pigment bowls. Photo: Sarah Rabe

February 8–May 26, 2019

The Roman world was a colorful place. Although we often associate the Romans with white marble statues, these statues — as well as Roman homes, clothing, and art — were vibrant with color. This exhibition examines colors in the ancient Roman world, how these colors were produced, where they were found, what the Romans thought about them, and how we study them today. We hope that visitors will think about what different colors mean to them, and how these meanings compare to the roles of colors in the ancient Roman world.

Curators: Catherine Person and Caroline Roberts

Read an interview with the exhibition curators.

Graffiti as Devotion along the Nile

Graffito of the Ram of Amun in the El Kurru funerary temple. Photo: Suzanne Davis

August 23, 2019–January 5, 2020

Ancient graffiti provide a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals in antiquity. Religious devotion in ancient Kush (a region located in modern-day northern Sudan), involved pilgrimage and leaving informal marks on temples, pyramids, and other monumental structures. These graffiti are found in temples throughout the later (“Meroitic”) period of Kush, when it bordered Roman Egypt. They represent one of the few direct traces of the devotional practices of private people in Kush and hint at individuals’ thoughts, values, and daily lives. This exhibition explores the times and places in which Kushite graffiti were inscribed through photos, text, and interactive media presentations. At the heart of the show are the hundreds of Meroitic graffiti recently discovered in a rock-cut temple by the Kelsey expedition to El Kurru in northern Sudan.

Curators: Geoff Emberling and Suzanne Davis

Kelsey Contemporaries: Randal Stegmeyer

February 7–July 26, 2020

Over the years, U-M photographer Randal Stegmeyer has created many memorable images of Kelsey Museum artifacts. This retrospective of Randal's career features his photography for the Kelsey as well as some of his own personal photographic works.

Curators: Terry G. Wilfong and Randal Stegmeyer