Below are brief descriptions of past Kelsey exhibitions, many preserved in online versions. The accordion buttons will bring up short descriptions of each show and links to more information.
2020–2022: Randal Stegmeyer: Exposing the Past
University of Michigan Library photographer Randal Stegmeyer long served as photographer of choice for the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Randal’s images feature prominently in our publications, electronic media, and promotional material and have come to shape how our artifacts are seen by scholars, students, and a wider public. This exhibition presents an overview of his career in photography, surveying his images of Kelsey Museum artifacts, his work for other U-M and Michigan cultural institutions, as well as his wide-ranging personal projects.
2019–2020: Graffiti as Devotion along the Nile: El-Kurru, Sudan
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.
2019: Ancient Color
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.
2018–2019: Urban Biographies, Ancient and Modern
This exhibition showcases three Classical cities where the University of Michigan sponsors field projects: Gabii in Italy, Olynthos in Greece, and Notion in Turkey. The archaeologists excavating these cities, in collaboration with students and faculty from U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, are comparing their findings to projects of urban rebuilding in contemporary Detroit, asking two main questions: How do contemporary archaeological methods facilitate the study of both ancient and modern cities? And how can the study of the past help illuminate the challenges and opportunities facing Detroit today?
2017–2018: Excavating Archaeology @ U-M: 1817–2017
This exhibition explores the history of archaeology and museums at the University of Michigan for the past 200 years and looks forward to the future of archaeology and museums at Michigan in the coming century.
2017–2018: Cosmogonic Tattoos, by Jim Cogswell
In celebration of the University’s Bicentennial in 2017, artist and professor Jim Cogswell has been invited by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the University of Michigan Museum of Art to create a set of public window installations in response to the objects in their collections. His project used adhesive vinyl images applied in saturated colors to windows in the two buildings, highlighting the role of these museums in the life of our campus community.
2017: The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance
This exhibition, hosted by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the University of Michigan Library, explores the early history of Western medicine as illustrated by a broad selection of archaeological artifacts, papyri, medieval manuscripts, and early printed books.
2017: Course Display Case: Women of Etruria
|December 2016-March 2017||MORE INFORMATION|
|Curator: Elaine Gazda|
This exhibit, highlighting the lives of Etruscan women, was prepared by students in Professor Elaine Gazda’s class on Etruscan Art and Archaeology (Fall 2016) who selected the theme, did research on the objects, and participated in designing components of the display.
2016–2017: Less Than Perfect
In our society, we are taught to strive for and expect perfection. Yet throughout our lives, we learn as much or more from our flaws and failures as we do from our successes. Less Than Perfect celebrates failure and the lessons it teaches. Featuring objects that span more than 2000 years and four continents, this exhibition explores the stories they tell about their makers, their making, and their use.
2016: Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii
Organized in cooperation with the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii and the Oplontis Project at the University of Texas, this international traveling exhibition explored the lavish lifestyle and economic interests of ancient Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens, who vacationed along the Bay of Naples.