Midwestern Museums and Classical Archaeology, 1893–1998

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Abstract

U.S. museums were not founded with the intention of building large collections reflecting the history and culture of classical societies such as Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Only later, with the combined interest of trustees and private donors, did most museums accept classical archaeology as an academic pursuit. In this paper, I explore how museums in the American Midwest, not known for maintaining extensive classical collections, came to possess relatively large collections from classical societies. I intend in this paper to engender pragmatic lines of questioning regarding the nature of archaeological and anthropological museum studies. I specifically focus on the development of collections at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, and the Logan Museum of Anthropology in Beloit, WI.

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