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Notes from the Director

It’s spring, and the Kelsey roofing project is at last finished. As I write, the scaffolding is coming down outside my office, and for the first time in nearly a year we can admire our wonderful building, freed from the maze of yellow bars that have encircled it since last summer. While the roofers were clambering over the exterior, the Museum remained open. Classes, research, and exhibit work continued as usual inside with only occasional interruptions for electrical outages, fumes, floods, and other expected crises of trying to continue life as usual on a work site. The staff and visitors were remarkably patient through the process, and we now look forward to carrying on in our new, drier environment.

A high point of the year was the opening of Janet Richards’s show, “Individual and Society in Ancient Egypt.” This exhibition (see Fall 2002 newsletter) features dedications from the cemetery of Abydos in Middle Egypt and explores the role of dedicatory activity in establishing the identity and changing status of individual ancient Egyptians. The show has already attracted record numbers of visitors and should remain on display until August 2003. (We are installing new gallery lighting this summer, and that may require taking the show down a bit early; I urge all of you who haven’t yet seen this splendid show to do so while you can.) Meanwhile, work is proceeding on Terry Wilfong’s show, “Archaeologies of Childhood,” which is due to open in November 2003.

We have also had the good fortune this year to expand our curatorial staff by two. Sue Alcock and John Cherry are joining us from the Department of Classical Studies, Sue as Curator of Roman Provinces and Undergraduate Research and John as Curator of Prehistory and Publications. We have also added three new Research Associates: Sussan Babaie from History of Art, Gary Beckman from Near Eastern Studies, and Lisa Nevett from Classical Studies. Welcome to all.

The Kelsey Museum collections are vast and diverse, covering a time span from the fifth millennium BCE to the thirteenth century CE and ranging geographically from North Africa to Mesopotamia. At the University of Michigan we are fortunate to have a community of expert faculty and staff who cover all these areas, first-rate students who are eager to study our materials, and a public that values this heritage. As I write in the wake of the despoliation of the Baghdad Museum, I cannot help but reflect on how privileged we all are to have the Kelsey Museum in our midst and the sacred trust that its preservation represents. I thank you all for your support of the Museum.

—Sharon Herbert, Director