The text and images in The Kelsey On-Line are for the personal use of students, scholars, and the public. All images are subject to international copyright laws. Any commercial use or publication of text or images is strictly prohibited.



On view in the Permanent Galleries:

The Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Gallery -- Included in these exhibitions are Dynastic Egyptian objects related to funerary practices, as well as objects from several excavations in the Near East. An installation of domestic materials from the site of Karanis, a Graeco-Roman town in Egypt, is displayed within a full-scale reconstruction of a house and courtyard, affording visitors the opportunity to view objects of daily life in their proper context.

The Greek and Roman gallery features the Museum's installation of sculpture, pottery, glass and other objects from the permanent collections.

In the Medieval Middle East Gallery, an exhibition of early Islamic inscribed textiles are on display. The Kelsey Museum is fortunate to possess an extraordinary series of textile documents from the early Islamic world (10th to 13th centuries CE). In a variety of materials, weaves, embroideries and ornamental schemes, these textiles were most frequently used for clothing. They also displayed a wealth of information. The earliest and most prestigious of them, called tiraz, name the official factories in which they were made, and the recipient for whom the caliph had them made, as well as quotations from the Koran. These were extremely important documents of high status, keenly sought after and widely imitated.


Past exhibits at the Kelsey Museum:

Animals in the Kelsey!

December 8, 2000 --- June 1, 2001

Love them, hate them, use them, abuse them: animals are everywhere in our lives. The argument could be made, however, that they were more important to the peoples of ancient Greece and Rome. U-M undergraduates will be considering this and many other issues as they design and help to organize an exhibition -- "Animals in the Kelsey!" (more...)

Villa of the Mysteries

Among the great masterpieces of ancient art, the Villa of the Mysteries fresco paintings have fascinated scholars and inspired visual artists with depictions of women engaged in mysterious rituals.  In the 1920's University of Michigan Professor Francis Kelsey commissioned Italian artist Maria Barosso to create a nearly life-sized representation of the Villa frescoes.  Exhibited for the first time in its entirety, Barosso's work is accompanied by a rich array of ancient art and artifacts, providing a fresh look at cultic rites practiced by women in ancient Pompeii.  Also included are works of contemporary art inspired by the Villa cycle, which attest to the enduring appeal of its themes and imagery.

Surrounded by the View: Panoramic Photographs from the Kelsey Museum Archives

In 1919 and 1920, photographer George R. Swain accompanied Francis Kelsey on an expedition which circled through Europe and the Mediterranean area. The purpose of the expedition was to document sites which were of interest to Classical history scholars, as well as to identify sites which might have potential for future excavations. Among Swain's photographic equipment was a Cirkut camera, one of the earliest rotation cameras manufactured for commercial use.

Swain produced a series of magificent panoramic views of many of the sites he and Kelsey visited. The photographs appear never to have been formally exhibited, nor were many, if any, of them published. This oversight will be remedied in part with the exhibit of many of these images in the Kelsey's galleries beginning in January 2000. This unique portion of the museum's photographic archives will be displayed, along with a brief introduction to the cameras available to Swain at the time. In addition to his photographic activities, Swain was an avid diarist, and illuminating comments drawn from his journals will make these vistas come alive for visitors to the galleries. We look forward to introducing you to the amazing photographs of Mr. Swain. In the galleries from January 14 through August 2000.

Music in Roman Egypt

The Kelsey Museum houses a unique collection of excavated musical instruments from fieldwork in Karanis and elsewhere in Egypt, as well as artifacts that relate to musical instruments and the people who played them. This exhibition is curated by Terry Wilfong, Assistant Curator of Graeco-Roman Egypt and Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies.

Reconstructing Personal Style in Late Antique Egypt

Today we express aspects of our identity in our choice of clothing. This is nothing new: people in ancient societies made similar visual statements. This exhibit, which focuses on the 4th to 7th centuries CE, uses textiles from the Kelsey Museum's collections to explore the expressive potential of fashion in late antiquity.

Sepphoris in Galilee: Crosscurrents of Culture

An exhibition which focused on the archaeological site of Sepphoris (known as Zippori in Hebrew) which was once an important city in Roman Palestine. September 7 - December 14, 1997.

A Taste of the Ancient World

A student-produced exhibit exploring food in the Ancient World. Fall 1996 - July 21, 1997.

Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt: From Prehistory to Late Antiquity

An exhibition that examines the evidence for women's lives in ancient Egypt and the wider issues of gender definition and roles. March 14 - June 15 1997.

Images of Empire

Newly rejoined fragments of Roman sculpture from the Flavian Dynasty.

Caught Looking: Exhibiting the Kelsey

An experimental student-curated exhibition on ways of seeing and exhibiting artifacts in a museum context.

Ancient Nubia: Egypt's Rival in Africa

The Kelsey's installation of the travelling exhibit loaned by the University of Pennsylvania's University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as an installation of photographs from the Kelsey's permanent collections documenting the First Aswan Dam.


University of Michigan Collections and Expeditions.

Dangerous Archaeology.

Francis Willey Kelsey and Armenia, 1919-1920.

Portals to Eternity.

The Necropolis at Terenouthis in Lower Egypt.

Wondrous Glass.

Reflections on the World of Rome c. 50 B.C. - A.D. 650.

Preserving Eternity.

Modern Goals, Ancient Intentions: Egyptian Funerary Artifacts in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
See press release for "Preserving Eternity"


Kelsey Museum Virtual Gallery:

Virtual Gallery of Historic Textiles from Egypt

A virtual exhibition of the Kelsey Museum's extensive collection of Egyptian textiles from the Pharaonic, Roman and Byzantine, and later Islamic periods of Egypt's pre-modern history.


Kelsey Museum on-line exhibit collaborations:

Death on Display in the Ancient World

An on-line exhibition mounted by students in the class Death in the Ancient World during the Winter 1998 term.

Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity

An exhibition in the Special Collections Library at the University of Michigan Library dealing with manuals of magical practices, various protective devices, and the uses of ancient magic.

The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

An Internet Public Library exhibition of selected Egyptian artifacts -- both real and fake. How and why museums come to acquire forgeries, and what we mean when we talk about different kinds of fakes.

Francis W. Kelsey and the Near East: Expeditions of 1919-1920

In 1919, University of Michigan professor Francis W. Kelsey launched an expedition to acquire early Christian manuscripts and to photograph sites of archaeological interest. (A Cultural Heritage Initiative for Community Outreach (CHICO) project)

Arabic Folk Medicine and Magic: 20th Century Amulets from the Kelsey Museum

A collection of amulets belonging primarily to young children who wore them to protect against evil and to prolong their lives. (A Cultural Heritage Initiative for Community Outreach (CHICO) project)

SILS Art Image Browser

A database of art, architectural, and museum object images from four collections: the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, the Department of the History of Art, and the Los Angeles Chicano Murals Private Photograph Collection.

Copyright © 1997 The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.