The University Museum


By: H. H. F. J.

Originally Published in 1939

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THE past year witnessed the Museum’s steady progress with only a few alterations in its usual course of activities. Expeditions were maintained, jointly with other institutions or under the Museum’s sole auspices, at Persepolis in Iran, Lake Van in Armenia, Curium in Cyprus and Piedras Negras in Guatemala. The Board of Managers has adopted a policy of bringing to a logical conclusion all its main field undertakings and therefore the close of the year marked the termination of work of the Expeditions at Persepolis and at Piedras Negras; work of the personnel of these Expeditions will, for the immediate future, be concentrated on preparing the results for publication. In view of unsettled conditions abroad it was not felt wise to continue to have the Museum share in the sponsorship of the Lake Van Expedition, and this project therefore went forward without the Museum taking part or responsibility in its activities. With the generous aid and under the supervision of Mr. George H. McFadden excellent progress was made on the excavations at Curium where new horizons of occupation and many interesting objects came to light.

Excavations on a palace
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
in the Apadana. The south-eastern part of the impressive audience of Darius and Xerxes was the first aim for the season. IN the background crew is at work to the left othe residential palace of Darius.
Image Number: 21903, 241194
Bull capitals in situ
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
Bull-capitals in the Apadana. The portico roof had once been carried on finely wrought double-bull capitals.
Image Number: 21905

Dr. Edgar B. Howard continued his research and studies in many parts of the United States on the subject of Early Man in the Americas, work that comprised extensive fieldwork and travel.

Three outstanding gifts it was the fortunate lot of the Museum to receive from generous supporters during the year. Mr. A. Felix du Pont greatly enhanced the outstanding Chinese Collections of the Museum by the gift of a Sixth Century Bronze Buddhist Trinity, a group of figures unsurpassed in any collection in this field. Mr. T. D. M. Cardeza made possible the acquisition of the Vase of Chama, perhaps the most important piece of Maya pottery extant, and one which it would have been indeed unfortunate to have taken from our exhibition of these important wares. Mrs. Harold Leinbach increased the Mediterranean Section through the gift of a fine marble head of Aesculapius which had been excavated by the Museum at Minturno, Italy, and presented to the late Mr. Gustav Oberlaender by the Italian Government: her generosity brings to its logical resting place a significant piece of sculpture.

Gifts of less outstanding import that strengthened all sections of the Museum were received from interested patrons and friends of the institution. The Museum’s share of the finds at Rayy, Iran-a vast body of material- was received and incorporated in the collections, as were lesser groups from other field endeavors.

Aerial view of the treasury burial after excavation
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
The Treasury of Persepolis. The only monumental structure of Persepolis which was entirely buried and unknown, while all the other palatial buildings showed surface indications of some kind. Within huge walls of a hundred and ninety-nine columns, respectively, the wealth of the Achaemenian kings had here been stored. Alexander’s soldiers were thorough in removing the contents, but even so, a great number of scientific treasures remained to be discovered.
Image Number: 142121, 21906, 241196
Excavation crew cleaning a site
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
A crew of three hundred clearing debris of the once stately walls of Apandana in order to complete plan of the building.
Image Number: 21904
A man standing in a pit with a shovel, part of a stone animal in the pit with him
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
A strange beast of gray polished stone was discovered in one of rooms. It is not known what sort of head belonged to the monstrous body.
Image Number: 21907, 241197

A collection of important objects from the American and Far Eastern Sections was sent on loan to the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco where they were seen by millions who would not otherwise have had the opportunity. It is reported that the Museum’s pieces were excellently installed and evoked much favorable comment.

Complete reinstallation of the Eskimo and Arctic, the Pacific, and the South American Ethnology Galleries was effected and the display of the collections improved. The older sections of the Museum were equipped with an entire new roof, remedying a situation of leaks that has long vexed the administration.

Through the fund generously established by Mr. Eldridge R. Johnson and Mr. E. R. Fenimore Johnson steps went forward towards the establishment of a storage vault for motion picture films and the creation of a motion picture film laboratory and library, a development long desired and having great scientific and educational possibilities.

A massive stone wall with a rubble heap in front of it, and columns rising into the sky behind it
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
The Persepolis Terrace. The columns of Apadana are silhouetted against the sky and the debris of the crumbled walls now forms the dump heap in front.
Image NUmber: 241195
A tall teardrop shaped vase with a wide lip
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
Clay was too humble a material for vessels to be used on the table of the king. Hundreds of vessels of serpentine, granite, slate, alabaster and calcareous varieties had been stored in the Treasury.
Image Number: 21909

A fourth volume in the Ur Excavation Series, The Ziggurat, prepared by Sir Leonard Wooley was published jointly with the British Museum. A preliminary report on the Museum’s 1937 Expedition to Sierra Leone, West Africa, was brought out entitled The Sherbro of Sierra Leone by Henry U. Hall. Jointly with the Danish National Museum a volume on The Eyak Indians of the Copper River Delta written by Dr. Frederica de Laguna and Dr. Kaj Birket-Smith was issued, describing certain phases of an expedition in which the two institutions participated in 1933.

It should be particularly noted that these two latter publications were issued through the aid of a grant from the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Fund of the American Philosophical Society.

The Educational Department closed a year of unusual effectiveness: not alone did the number of children given direct instruction in gallery and classroom increase, but the quality and scope of this training was augmented. The twenty-five thousand children constituting seven hundred and fifty classes represent about the maximum number of classes it is possible to schedule with present facilities. A greater degree of cooperation with the Philadelphia Board of Education than even hitherto enjoyed must be noted with satisfaction.

H. H. F. J.

A shallow bowl with a tripod base
Plate V — Persepolis 1939.
Joint Expedition, The University Museum and The Oriental Institute.
Vessel of grayish green serpentine with a tripod base in the form of lions’ legs.
Image Number: 21910

Cite This Article

J., H. H. F.. "The University Museum." Museum Bulletin VII, no. 4 (November, 1939): 25-27. Accessed July 25, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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