Events, Library News

Fordham Museum “Faces the Past” in New Exhibit

We are pleased to share that the Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Art has been featured in the April 2021 edition of Connections, published by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). Written by Curator of University Art Jennifer Udell, Ph.D., the article explores a new student-curated exhibit, Facing the Past: Reexamining the Modern History of Objects in the Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Art.

To create Facing the Past, student-curators researched the provenance of artifacts in the museum’s collection to trace their journey from the original source to the museum. The students also examined provenance from an ethical perspective – how should a museum address questions surrounding provenance and the possibility that certain items may have found their way into a collector’s hands in unsavory ways? And they tackled all of this during a pandemic, no less!

Read an excerpt from the article below, then get the full story in AJCU Connections:

The student-curators of this latest exhibition took a hard look at 15 vases in the Fordham collection, about which significant questions exist. They sought to recreate the circuitous journey of these objects from tomb to museum vitrine, often without any solid information on the actual findspot. With scant accompanying paperwork for the vases, save for William Walsh’s own purchase receipts and the occasional auction record or bibliographic reference, they worked to determine how and if these objects fit within the muddled continuum of the illicit international antiquities market.

The students performed their research in the middle of the pandemic with limited access to resources, except for whatever could be located online, or obtained through interlibrary loan. The demands of the exhibition theme required them to wade through foreign databases, familiarize themselves with relevant international cultural patrimony laws, treaties, and court decisions, and to consider the question of whether the Fordham antiquities museum should display ancient objects that lack a secure archaeological context and documented history of ownership. In other words, a problematic situation for the Fordham Museum presented an ideal, real-life learning opportunity that confronts curators of ancient art every day.

Read the full article in AJCU Connections.

Fordham students, faculty, and staff can visit the Museum, located on the ground floor of Walsh Library on the Rose Hill campus. You can also browse the museum’s art and artifacts virtually by visiting the library’s Digital Collections.

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