The Kelsey Museum is pleased to announce the installation of its first BIG (Byzantine and Islamic Gallery) Object Spotlight. This temporary exhibition is available for viewing on the second floor of the museum, near the Roman gallery space. 

Artifacts from the Byzantine and Islamic world—including textiles, coins, wooden architectural elements, ceramics, glass, manuscript folios and fragments, decorative and functional household items, and funerary artifacts—make up a large portion of the Kelsey’s collection. These artifacts illustrate the rich multiculturalism and interconnectedness of the Mediterranean region from the 3rd century onward—a period characterized by the development and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. With the support of U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Kelsey is currently working on a new gallery that will highlight ancient and medieval centers of learning and explore the intercultural dialogue of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds through artworks and objects that have never before been permanently exhibited at the museum. 

Over the next two years, a series of “Object Spotlights” will provide entrée into some of the themes and artifacts planned for the Kelsey Museum’s permanent Byzantine and Islamic Gallery. This first installation features pilgrimage flasks from Egypt and Iraq, a carved wooden door lintel from Egypt, and inscribed (tiraz) textiles from Egypt and Yemen. Taken together, these items spotlight the themes of personal piety, pilgrimage, status display, and beliefs about death; they also demonstrate the continuity of such concepts across different regions, religions, and cultures. 

The BIG Object Spotlight installations will rotate every four months. BIG Object Spotlight #1 will be on display until early November.

Visit the second floor of the Kelsey Museum to view BIG Object Spotlight #1.