Happy International Museum Day, everyone! This year’s theme is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition, focusing on the new roles of museums as active actors in their communities. Directly from the ICOM website, read below the visual interpretation of the theme for the poster:
For the 2019 poster, we wanted to emphasize the first part of the theme: “museums as cultural hubs”. This was a big challenge because it is about representing the museum as a hub in relation with the local communities. So we chose sign everyone knows as the localization sign. We transformed it into an entity gathering other entities and we used it to create a mesh for the background. This repeating sign also evokes the concept of polycentricity. It highlights the new role of museums as a platform and the link between museums and the future while respecting traditions.
Nature is wonderful and mysterious. Take a look at this article about Libyan desert glass formed by a meteor millions of years ago. The ancient Egyptians did not think that glass was a cheap material–quite on the contrary–and Libyan desert glass is spectacularly beautiful and impressive enough to be found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
(Thanks to Ken for sharing!)
The Archaeological Institute of America is accepting applications for the Elizabeth Bartman Museum Internship (deadline is April 1, 2019)
Thescholarship was established in honor of AIA Honorary President Elizabeth Bartman to assist graduate students, or those who have recently completed a master’s degree, in Archaeology or a related field (e.g., Anthropology, Art History, Classics, History, etc.) meet expenses associated with undertaking a museum internship (minimum duration a summer or semester). Specific projects will vary and might include the following: collection cataloguing, provenance or archival research, exhibition preparation, the writing of labels and/or didactic panels, assisting with websites and presentations in other media, such as audio guides and exhibition videos, and participating more broadly in museum activities, working with conservators, art handlers, designers, and other museum professionals.
A colleague who is not an Egyptologist asked me for suggestions of videos to show her students as part of the course she is developing on ancient Egypt. Nothing really came to mind, so I turned to Egyptological friends for ideas. One of them suggested this wonderful short film by Shadi Abdel Salam, The Eloquent Peasant. The tale of The Eloquent Peasant dates to the Middle Kingdom (circa 2040-1782 BCE) and is a text students have to translate in Middle Egyptian class. It is really a story that “illustrates the value [ancient Egyptian] society placed on the concept of justice and equality”.
Having translated said text back in uni but having never seen the movie, I decided to take a look… and it is stunningly beautiful, elegant and simple. I really wish my Arabic were much better so I could enjoy the eloquent speech… but you do not need to understand Arabic to appreciate it. I might try reading a translation of the text (which you can find in Miriam Lichtheim’s Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms) while watching the movie.
This little clip just made my day. Enjoy.
I am revising my plan for ARCHAEO-Crush posts… Clearly, my busy schedule cannot accommodate one post per month, so I am trying one per season. (Let’s see how that goes.) My ARCHAEO-Crush for winter 2019 is from a civilisation better known for its geoglyphs…
Loads of Nazca ceramics!
Trying to get a closer shot!
These are spiders that look remarkably like ants!!! But count the legs… there are 8, so spider it is!
Look at that friendly mien!
How cute is this little crab? (He looks a little sad, actually.)
Some cute… bugs? Shrimp? (Has a Precambrian-like feel that I like.)
Type: artefact (ceramics)
Civilisation: Peruvian, Nazca (also spelled Nasca)
Date: 200 BCE and 600 CE
ARCHAEO-Crush: This is really an archaeological crush because I don’t really know anything about the Nazca culture of ancient Peru. When I became curator of ancient art, I suddenly found myself in charge of archaeological collections from the Ancient Americas, artefacts from cultures I had never studied at uni or others I knew about from a television show I absolutely loved as a kid. I have since been paying more attention to these amazing civilisations and their material culture. I knew of the Nazca geoglyphs (aka the ‘Nazca Lines‘), but had never seen other materials produced by the Nazca people until recently (not every museum has a collection of ancient American art and amongst those not all include Nazca art).
I immediately fell in love with Nazca ceramics the second I laid eyes on them. They are the most colourful vessels I have ever seen (in earth tones, no less!) and decorated with incredibly adorable (and occasionally unexpected) figures and designs. The selection above are from the Milwaukee Public Museum (an unexpectedly stunning museum by the way!), the Field Museum in Chicago and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Seriously cute, don’t you think?
Bucket list status: One day I’ll get to Peru and will see the Nazca Lines (and other things); in the meantime I will enjoy the ceramics in museum collections.
Additional information: This is a nice little article in the Ancient History Encyclopedia about of the Nazca civilisation.
A few days ago a friend from out of town said, you haven’t written much on your blog, you must have been busy this year. You undoubtedly noticed the same thing. It’s been crazy busy. Unfortunately, I foresee that 2019 will be just as hectic: *sigh…*
Happy New Year 2019. May it be not so busy!
Earlier this afternoon, when I was doing research for a possible work trip to Naples, Italy, I came across this exhibition at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli:
The exhibition is about the mythology of heroes from Antiquity to Star Wars. (Brilliant, if you ask me…. the kid who thought that Alexander the Great was sort of an ancient Luke Skywalker–see an old post on the subject HERE.) Unfortunately, the exhibition will be over by the time I make it to Naples in November, should the trip be possible (like said, exploring possibilities). The show closes on September 16.
Still, I was in stitches looking through the various photos of ancient art featuring Star Wars characters (some are more successful than others). Imagine, they used the same work of art I featured in my ‘Alexander Skywalker’ post… and added R2-D2 and BB8 to it. The MANN even had the guts to use some of the erotic art from Pompeii!! (Talk about voyeuristic droids! These are not the droids you are looking for…)
My favourite are the two below. The geeks amongst you will enjoy the fact that you can download all these fun images from the exhibition website.