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January 18, 2010

What’s old is new

Memorial Art Gallery opens two new galleries of ancient art

view of ancient artifacts
The Helen H. Berkeley Gallery of Ancient Art brings together works from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, including objects never before on view. Among the highlights are two of the most important acquisitions of recent years—rare pair of fourth-century Egyptian coffins that were until recently in the Gill Discovery Center.


The Memorial Art Gallery is showcasing its ancient art collections with two newly opened galleries. Renovation and reinstallation of the second-floor galleries, which began this summer, was made possible by one of the largest gifts in the gallery’s history—a $1 million commitment from longtime friend and supporter Helen Berkeley.

Helen BerkeleyThe Helen H. Berkeley Gallery of Ancient Art brings together works from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, including objects never before on view. Among the highlights are two of the most important acquisitions of recent years—rare pair of fourth-century Egyptian coffins that were until recently in the Gill Discovery Center.

A few steps away, "At the Crossroads" features works from the ancient Middle East and the Islamic world, among them a medieval Koran, a large architectural frieze from northern India, and ceramics on loan from the
Buffalo Museum of Science.

urn“The Berkeley gift put into motion a project that has been in the planning process for a number of years: the reinstallation of the oldest objects in the Gallery’s collection in the most up-to-date museum environment,” says Nancy Norwood, curator of European art. “The opportunity to present these significant works of art within the context of new research and interpretation continues the gallery’s mission of bringing the world within reach of our visitors—a group that includes the many students and teachers who make extensive use of this part of the collection.”

Additional support for the project was received from the National
Endowment for the Arts and through state funds secured by New York State Senator Joseph Robach.

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