Originally Published in 1940

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THROUGH the interest and generosity of Mr. Eldridge R. Johnson and Mr. E. R. Fenimore Johnson the Museum has been able in the course of the summer to produce a talking motion picture illustrating the work of the Museum, entitled “Ancient Earth”. Mr. Lowell Thomas, of the Board of Managers, very kindly consented to supply the narrative, and the completed sound film, it is felt, not only will increase interest in the activities of the Museum but will indicate as well the manifold tasks involved in research such as that conducted by the Museum.

Incorporating shots taken by various of the Museum’s Near Eastern Expeditions, the theme of “Ancient Earth” is the course followed by archaeological objects from the time they are actually unearthed in distant lands until, step by step, they are placed upon exhibition in the Museum and are made available for study and research.

While circumstances directed that the archaeological side of the Museum’s activities should be especially stressed in “Ancient Earth” it is hoped, in the near future, to produce at least two other sound films in this series, one dealing with ethnological research, the other with the educational work of the Museum.

The present sound picture and others to be made in this series, as well as the considerable group of allied films which have already been assembled in the Johnson Film Library, will, upon sufficient notice, be lent to Members of the Museum free of charge as a privilege of membership.


THE summer months gave opportunity to redecorate two of the Museum’s exhibition galleries and to rearrange the collections in them in a comprehensive manner.

In the old section, the Baugh Pavilion, which was formerly devoted largely to the finds of the Nippur Expedition, has now been assigned, in main, to the Babylonian Collections from 2400 B. C. to the first century A. D., thus making, with the first Babylonian Gallery-formerly the Ur Gallery-a complete display of Mesopotamian art and archaeology from the earliest times to the Hellenistic period.

In addition, there have been arranged in this gallery two subsidiary displays bearing on the archaeology of Mesopotamia: one illustrates, with a series of carefully chosen vessels and sherds, the typical and characteristic pottery produced in this area in prehistoric and early historic times. Inasmuch as archaeologists, studying these early epochs, depend to a major degree upon the evidence of pottery in establishing chronological sequences, this synoptic display should be welcomed by the visitor.

The second display consists of a very full selection of inscribed objects, not only showing the development of cuneiform writing from its earliest pictographic forms, but also illustrating the many different ways it was employed, from boundary stones and foundation deposits to business documents, grammars, multiplication tables and even school exercises.

In addition to this gallery, a new gallery in the Coxe Wing has been designated for the collections of the art of India and much material never before on display was installed together with the few pieces hitherto exhibited in connection with the Persian Collections.

Cite This Article

"Notes." Museum Bulletin VIII, no. 4 (October, 1940): 29-30. Accessed July 23, 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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