Froelich Gladstone Rainey

By: Howard C. Peterson

Originally Published in 1976

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A great period for the University Museum has been the 29-year directorship of Froelich Gladstone Rainey from 1947 to 1976. During that period the staff of the Museum trebled in size. Under his leadership the quality of research and scholarship of the Museum was enormously enhanced. He leaves as a fine heritage a curatorial staff of real excellence. In the 29-year period some 230 expeditions were mounted in all six continents and in 33 countries around the world. Most noteworthy under his direct supervision were the Tikal excavation and reconstruction, 1955-1972; and Sybaris in Calabria, 1961 to 1968; Tikal has become a household word in archaeology and the fabled city of Sybaris, a reality.

Some of the firsts of his directorship were the development of the Members’ Nights and membership involvement in which he was a pioneer. The creation of Expedition magazine and its prizewinning qualities are due to his energetic vision. Underwater Archaeology as an academic discipline was developed here. Television as a vehicle for the widening communication to a general public was yet another of his innovative contributions. The Peabody Award winning What in the World captivated audiences throughout the nation for over 15 years and was copied in England and Europe.

A thorough-going practicing archaeologist himself, he es­tablished the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology which has in its 15 years of existence developed a whole series of aids to archaeology in dating clocks, magnetometers, time sequences, conservation and preservation measures and ex­perimentation in archaeological photographic techniques. From Carbon-14 to thermoluminescence to mud brick preservation, these techniques have enriched archaeology the world over.

Finally, it is Dr. Rainey’s role in world archaeology that should be marked. As Director of the American Association of Museums in the early 1960’s, he contributed much to the philosophy of museology the world over and has served on countless committees: for the establishment of worldwide legislation for the systematic control of works of art; firm legislation throughout the archae­ological world to control the looting of sites; the Aswan Dam Preservation Project. And more than any other institution, under his leadership the University Museum engaged in worldwide archaeology.

In this issue of Expedition we present preliminary reports of the Thai survey and the excavations at Ban Chiang, the most recent and what promises to be one of the most rewarding of the expeditions initiated by Dr. Rainey.

His warmth, friendliness and direct personal charm have added much to a full generation of this institution. It is with respect and admiration that the Board of Managers and the staff of the Museum extend their best wishes to its retiring Director.

Cite This Article

Peterson, Howard C.. "Froelich Gladstone Rainey." Expedition Magazine 18, no. 4 (July, 1976): -. Accessed February 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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