Behind the Exhibit

Richard Zettler, co-curator of Iraq’s Ancient Past, is Associate Curator-in-charge of the Near East section at the Penn Museum and Associate Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been actively involved since 1986. From 1989 through 2007, he ran excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat, Syria. Dr. Zettler is editor, with Lee Horne, of Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur (Penn Museum, 1998), the catalogue of the exhibition of this material. That exhibition traveled to multiple venues from 1998 to 2003, was re-opened at the Penn Museum in a modified installation, in March 2004, and then traveled to three additional U.S. venues in 2005 and 2006. Dr. Zettler excavated in Iraq at Nippur and several other sites from 1975 to 1978. In 1979, he spent six months in Baghdad, often at the Iraq Museum, working on his dissertation. Dr. Zettler received his PhD in Near Eastern archaeology from the University of Chicago.

Holly Pittman, co-curator of Iraq’s Ancient Past, is a Curator in the Near East section of the Penn Museum, and College of Women Class of 1963 term Professor in the Humanities, and Department Chair, History of Art, School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current focus of research is Bronze Age Iran. A co-curator of the nationally traveling exhibition, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, Dr. Pittman is author of several essays in the exhibition’s catalogue as well as numerous other studies on the art of the Bronze Age in the Near East. She received her PhD in the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East at Columbia University.

Kate Quinn, Head of Exhibits/Lead Exhibition Designer at the Penn Museum, joined the Museum’s Exhibition team in 2008. At the Penn Museum, Ms. Quinn led the design and development of Painted Metaphors: Pottery and Politics of the Ancient Maya, Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania, IYARE! Splendor and Tension in Benin’s Palace Theatre, and several others. She holds a BFA in Theatrical Design and an MFA in Museum Exhibition Planning and Design. Iraq’s Ancient Past has been a collaborative effort, with the following people involved in developing the exhibition: Allie Francies, Exhibit Developer; Matt Applebaum, Exhibit Designer; Polly Mitchell, Exhibit Research; Courtney O’Brien, Exhibit Research and Technician; Aaron Billheimer, Exhibit Technician; Kevin Schott, Exhibit Technician; William Whiting, Mountmaker; Ben Neiditz, Carpenter; William Schenck, Carpenter; and Maureen Goldsmith, Project Manager.

Lynn A. Grant, Senior Conservator, joined the Penn Museum’s Conservation Laboratory in 1988 as conservator for loans and traveling exhibitions. From 1995 to 2002, she also served as field conservator for the Museum’s Early Copan Acropolis Project excavations in Honduras. Before coming to the Penn Museum, she had worked as a conservator in Canada, England, and Hong Kong and had done on-site field conservation in Herculaneum, Italy; the Athenian Agora and Kommos, Greece; Tille Höyük and Troy, Turkey; and ‘Ain Ghazal and Tell el-Hayyat, Jordan. She holds a degree in Archaeological Conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University of London, and a B.A. in Classical Studies, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada. On the conservation team, Julia Lawson, Conservator, has been in the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Conservation Laboratory since 1998. She received her Masters of Science degree with a Certificate in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware in 1999. Among the projects she has worked on at the Museum are the reinstallation of the Roman and Etruscan galleries, and the Near East Section Nippur Coffin and Ur Metals Conservation Treatment Projects. Most recently she has undertaken the conservation of two monumental stone reliefs from the Chinese Rotunda. Nina Owczarek, Conservation Assistant, has been working on contract with the Conservation Laboratory since February 2009. She is a graduate of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Nina has worked previously in Washington D.C., Germany, Italy, Greece, and Morocco.

Alex Pezzati, Senior Archivist at the Penn Museum, has worked in the Museum Archives since 1987, first as Reference Archivist, and in his current role since 2002. The Archives house the records of more than 120 years of the Museum’s fieldwork around the world, including field notes, photographs, drawings and paintings of its artifact collections, and the administrative history of the institution. Author of a Penn Museum book, Adventures in Photography, which was also a Museum exhibit, he writes a regular feature, “From the Archives,” for the Museum’s Expedition magazine. For Iraq’s Ancient Past, he assisted the exhibition team in the examination and selection of photographs, excavation records, correspondence, and media coverage garnered throughout the Ur excavation seasons.

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