Denison Museum Romances the Past with Archaeology Exhibition Linked to "Indiana Jones"
Date of Event: May 23, 2008
Posted: April 28, 2008 / Last Updated: April 29, 2008
The Denison Museum will kick off summer with an exhibition of the museum’s private collection of ancient Babylonian artifacts. The exhibition, “Romancing the Past: Ancient Babylon in Granville” opens to the public with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 23, at the Denison Museum in Burke Hall (240 West Broadway) and continues through Sunday, Aug. 17. Edgar James Banks (1866 – 1945) was the originating source for part of the show, which is composed of a small collection of ancient Mesopotamian relics including several cuneiform tablets. The Denison Museum is free and open to the public daily from 1 to 4 p.m.
Banks was an antiquities enthusiast and entrepreneurial archaeologist who is considered an original inspiration for the fictional figure of Indiana Jones. During his time as an American consul in Baghdad in 1898, Banks bought hundreds of cuneiform tablets from the local antiquities market in the closing days of the Ottoman Empire and re-sold them in small batches to museums, libraries, universities, theological seminaries and personal collectors throughout the United States. The Denison Museum holds a small collection of these tablets known as the “Johnstone Collection.”
Dr. E. R. Johnstone bought his collection from Banks and passed it down to his granddaughter, Olive Lee Hart, who donated the artifacts to the Denison Museum in 2006. The Johnstone collection consists of four clay tablets, one stone tablet, a clay inscribed cone and one stone seal, some of which date from as early as 2350 BCE.
By focusing on the discovery of lost treasures in forgotten lands, the exhibit illustrates the processes of discovery and the archaeological context of this ancient Babylonian collection.
The Denison Museum has a number of scheduled events to accompany the exhibition including a book club meeting on Agatha Christie’s “Murder in Mesopotamia” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the Buxton Inn (313 East Broadway) and a family day at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at the Denison Museum (240 West Broadway). Family day will consist of a children’s book reading and a tour and brief introduction to the exhibition. All events are free and open to the public.
The Denison Museum is dedicated to providing a first-hand cultural experience to students, faculty and staff of the University and the wider community. An ongoing program of lectures, symposia, visiting artists, gallery tours and other events is available to the Denison audience and the general public. For further information and programming updates, visit www.denison.edu/museum, or call 740-587-6255.
Calendar Listing: Denison University, Granville—Opening reception for the exhibition of Babylonian tablets, 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, May 23, at the Denison Museum in Burke Hall (240 West Broadway). Refreshments provided. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6255 to confirm information.
Calendar Listing: Denison University, Granville—Exhibition of Babylonian tablets originating from archaeologist Edgar James Banks (1866-1945), at the Denison Museum in Burke Hall (240 West Broadway); Open daily from 1 to 4 p.m., May 23 until Aug. 17. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6255 to confirm information.
Calendar Listing: Denison University, Granville—Denison Museum book club meeting, 2 p.m., Sat., June 28, Agatha Christie’s “Murder in Mesopotamia,” at the Buxton Inn (313 East Broadway). Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6255 for reservations.
Calendar Listing: Denison University, Granville—Denison Museum Family Day, 1 p.m., Sat., July 12, at the Denison Museum in Burke Hall (240 West Broadway). A children’s book reading, tour and introduction to the exhibition at 1 p.m., tour/intro at 2 p.m., book reading at 3 p.m., film screening at 4:30 p.m., location TBD. Refreshments provided. Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6255 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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