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The Membership Office

1993-94 Annual Report

Melanie Jansen

It has been a busy and enjoyable year for membership programming. In addition to the Wednesday evening lecture series, we co-sponsored two events with outside organizations: in February UC2MC (the University of Chicago alumni group) joined us for a lecture and gallery walk by Professor Thomas Brochu-Mudloff, an Egyptology graduate of the Oriental Institute, and in April, we cooperated with Earthwatch to bring Professor Philip Kohl, of Wellesley College, to the Institute to speak on "Armenian Origins." Both events were very successful, bringing in many new people to the Institute. We plan on more joint ventures in the coming year.

The Membership Office also held several other events that were "out-of-the-ordinary"; the first, and certainly the most dramatic, was the James Henry Breasted Society dinner on November 11, 1993. This festive event, which launched the Oriental Institute Legacy Campaign, took place in the Research Archives, which was transformed by striking floral and foliage decorations, balloons, and special effects lighting. University of Chicago President Hugo Sonnenschein and his wife, Beth, were the guests of honor.

We were very pleased to have Thomas H. Loy of Australian National University in Canberra with us on December 2 at the University Club in the Loop. Professor Loy, who has done work on the celebrated "Iceman" and with Robert and Linda Braidwood, gave a fascinating lecture to over one hundred people on "The Molecular Time Machine: Tracing DNA in Ancient Artifacts." Afterwards, members of the James Henry Breasted Society joined Professor Loy for dinner and discussion of his work.

On January 23 Associate Professor Martha Roth, Assistant Editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, spoke to the Graduate School of Business Women's Business Group. That same day at the Field Museum, Registrar Raymond D. Tindel, an expert on South Arabia, gave a brief talk about Yemen to a group of members and then took them through the photograph exhibit, "Yemeni Architecture: A Culture of Builders." On March 31 some eighty Associate members gathered at the University Club in the Loop for dinner with T. G. Harry James, Former Keeper of Western Asiatic Antiquities at the British Museum. Mr. James delighted the audience with tales of James Henry Breasted, Howard Carter, and the quest for antiquities in Egypt in the first decades of this century. And, in April, James Henry Breasted Society members Barbara and Philip Rollhaus hosted a Society reception featuring Assistant Curator Emily Teeter, who spoke about the recent recovery of the Medinet Habu notebooks.

February, March, and April initiated a new series: Associates' Teas, behind-the-scenes tours of the Oriental Institute on Sunday afternoons. Conservators Laura D'Alessandro and Barbara Hamann, Head of the Computer Laboratory John Sanders, and Registrar Raymond D. Tindel took turns showing various, non-public aspects of the museum to Associate members. Each tour was followed by tea and a buffet provided by docent Mary Jo Khuri in the Director's Study.

In May the Annual Dinner celebrated the excavations at Aqaba. Research Associate Donald Whitcomb, Director of the Aqaba Project, spoke to almost two hundred members and friends about the history of Aqaba and Islamic archaeology at the Oriental Institute. On the 31st, "Sports and Games in the Ancient Near East," curated by Assistant Curator Emily Teeter, opened with a members' reception and a chance to talk with Dr. Teeter and others involved with the exhibit.

The Membership Office was also pleased to help with two very special birthday parties for members of the James Henry Breasted Society: one for long-time Society member Petra Blix in July 1993 (arranged by her husband, Dr. Benjamin Gruber), and one for John Ansehl in April 1994 (arranged by Timothy G. A. Sohlberg, one of our newest James Henry Breasted Society members).

The Wednesday evening lecture series saw a fine cast of lecturers this past year. K. Asl1han Yener, the newest faculty member in the Oriental Institute and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, presented the opening lecture in October. She spoke about the excavation at Göltepe, in the central Taurus Mountains of Turkey. In November Carol Meyer, former artist with the Epigraphic Survey, gave an update on the Bir Umm Fawakhir project in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. December saw the first of the Archaeological Institute of America co-sponsored lectures, featuring Mary Voight of the College of William and Mary, who spoke on the recent excavations at Gordion, Turkey. In January Gocha R. Tsetskhladze, of Balliol College, Oxford, talked about "International Relations in the Ancient World: Colchis and the Achaemenid Empire"; in February another distinguished scholar from England, Dorothy J. Thompson of Girton College, Cambridge, spoke on "Mummification on the Ptolemaic Necropolis of Memphis."

In March there were two lectures, the first by Heather Lechtman of the M.I.T. Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology. Dr. Lechtman gave a talk on Andean prehistoric metallurgy and the culture of technology. The second lecture was by Research Associate Donald Whitcomb, who updated the Institute on the recent excavations at Aqaba. In April, Karla Kroeper from the Egyptian Museum in Berlin visited the Institute to give the last lecture in the series, "A Step Out of the Darkness: the Delta at the Beginning of Pharaonic Egypt."

This year's Travel Program included the first of a new series of museum weekends, which feature Near Eastern collections in cities around the country. The first trip, "Egypt in New York," led by Emily Teeter, was successful despite the very uncooperative weather in February. The Oman/Yemen/Bahrain trip in January, also led by Emily Teeter, was a great success. However, the trip to Jordan and Israel, scheduled for May 1994 and to be led by graduate student Timothy Harrison, was canceled because of the volatile political situation in Israel. There are several other trips scheduled for the forthcoming year, including a museum study tour to Paris and Berlin in November 1994, to be led by Curator Karen L. Wilson; a trip to Egypt in March 1995, to be led by Archivist John Larson; and a cruise to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan in November 1995. A museum weekend, "Egypt in Boston," is slated for October 21-23, 1994, and will be led by John Larson as well. Other trips to Syria and Turkey are in the planning stages.

The Membership Office has profited greatly in the past year by close interaction with the following people: Thomas Urban in the Publications Office, who keeps News & Notes and the Annual Report on schedule and impeccably produced; Kaylin Goldstein in the Education Office, who serves as a design consultant and photographer for events; and Emily Teeter in the Museum, who gives generously of her time and expertise to the Travel Program. Many thanks also to our volunteers Charlotte Collier, who happily and graciously makes telephone calls, stuffs envelopes, and does other meaningful work; and Mary Jo Khuri, who helps with catering and development research.

Remember, the door to the Membership Office is always open; we encourage members to come to room 233 and share their thoughts and ideas with us whenever they are at the Institute.

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