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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1999-2000 Annual Report

The Museum Education Office


Carole Krucoff

The opening of the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery brought Museum Education the special pleasures - and challenges - of once again sharing the treasures of our collection with the public. Faculty, staff, students, and volunteers gave us assistance and encouragement as we planned and presented a full year of gallery-based educational services. Collaborations with cultural institutions city-wide led to a wide range of innovative programs that spread the word our doors were open once more. The outcome was a rich and rewarding year filled with museum learning experiences that served a broad and diverse audience of youth, families, adults, and teachers and students in the Chicago Public Schools.

Public Programs

Collaboration was the watchword for public programs this past year. Joint planning with cultural institutions and museums throughout the city led to a whole host of innovative new programs. Along with some familiar favorites, these new programs attracted 3,100 adults, youth, and families to events that took place at the Oriental Institute and throughout the community.

Youth and Family Programs

Programs for children and families benefited greatly from the reopening of the Egyptian Gallery. Once again we collaborated with Lill Street Studio on the north side for our fourth annual presentation of Be An Ancient Egyptian Artist, our popular week-long summer day camp for children ages 8-12. This year the camp was enhanced by a day of learning and hands-on arts activities in the Egyptian Gallery. Be An Ancient Egyptian Artist was also offered in partnership with the Hyde Park Art Center, and the program sold out almost as soon as it was announced. Fall began with our annual return to the 57th Street Children's Book Fair, where Docent Rebecca Binkley and her daughter Kristina helped children and their families create ancient-Egyptian-style "books." In winter we presented Tut's Treasures: Make a Royal Headdress. During this workshop, children and their parents produced recreations of Tutankhamun's golden mummy mask and then donned their masks to be photographed alongside our colossal statue of King Tut. Portions of this sold-out family program were repeated with great success at the DuSable Museum of African-American History.

Additional family programs were presented in conjunction with University of Chicago Events. During the Humanities Open House in October, our Saturday afternoon docents - Dorothy Blindt, David Covill, Nancy Gould, and Carole Yoshida - presented guided tours for parents, while Docent Karen Terras led a special hands-on arts program for children. During June Reunion, the University Alumni Office invited us to offer an afternoon of drop-in programming for families, which was presented by Education Programs Assistant Megan Kossiakoff.

"Families in the Museum" Project

The reopening of the Egyptian Gallery has enabled Museum Education to embark on an extensive project that will have an impact on the museum's services for children and their families for years to come. In December 1999 the Polk Bros. Foundation awarded the Oriental Institute a major grant to create museum learning experiences that will attract and serve families who generally do not take advantage of museums as a leisure-time option. This pilot project is being implemented in partnership with parents, students, and administrators from the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School, who are working with us to develop and test a program of self-guided museum learning experiences for families based on exhibits in the Egyptian Gallery.

Anna Rochester, School and Family Programs Coordinator, is supervising this project in partnership with a panel of Charter School parents that includes Deborah Anderson, Ramona Clark, Janet Gray, Garcena and Bryant Hapgood, Lynn Lanfair, and Brenda Noble. Advisors to the project are Marvin Hoffman and Barbara Williams, co-directors of the Charter School, and Jane Dowling of Wellington Consulting Group, Ltd. who is serving as educational evaluator. We envision that the programs and activities emerging from this partnership will become a model for family learning throughout the museum as our remaining galleries reopen over the next two years.

Adult Education Programs

Adult education programs during the past year offered participants many choices: special events and symposia; multi-session courses at the Institute and at other sites; and Internet and correspondence courses that served a growing audience from across the nation and around the world.

Internet and correspondence courses this year attracted 150 participants from 35 different states, as well as world-wide locations that ranged from Belgium to the United Arab Emirates. Our Internet course, Egyptian Folklore: Linking Past to Present, was taught by Nicole Hansen. John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory, also lent his talents and expertise to this project. Stephen Parker, assisted by Harold Hays, taught Hieroglyphs by Mail for beginners and intermediate students; Nicole Hansen taught a separate session for advanced students. Two audio-tape correspondence courses, Ancient Egyptian Society and Akhenaten and the Amarna Age in Ancient Egypt, were presented by Frank Yurco.

Closer to home, two courses were presented at the University of Chicago's downtown Gleacher Center, meeting the needs of members and friends who live on the city's north side and in the northern suburbs. Offered in conjunction with the University's Graham School of General Studies, the courses were Archaeology and the Land of the Bible, taught by Aaron Burke, and Paradise Planned: Cities in the Ancient Near East, taught by Eleanor Barbanes.

Courses presented at the Oriental Institute included Travelers, Rogues, and Scholars, taught by John Larson; The Middle Kingdom: Ancient Egypt's Classical Age, Opulence and Empire: The New Kingdom in Ancient Egypt-Part I, Warrior Kings and Massive Monuments: The New Kingdom in Ancient Egypt-Part II, and Post New-Kingdom to Late Period Egypt, all taught by Frank Yurco; They Wrote on Clay, taught by Fumi Karahashi; Gods, Myths, and Magic: The Religion of Ancient Mesopotamia, taught by Tim Collins; and The World of the Dead Sea Scrolls, taught jointly by Michael Weschler and Yonder Gillihan.

Weschler and Gillihan's course was part of a wide-ranging collaboration between the Oriental Institute and The Field Museum, which took place in conjunction with The Dead Sea Scrolls, a major traveling exhibition on view at The Field Museum during winter/spring 2000. Field Museum and Oriental Institute Museum educators worked together to develop and present a series of highly successful adult education programs that included courses and field trips at both institutions. Joint courses held at The Field Museum were Introduction to Archaeology, taught by Jennifer Blitz, Vice-President of Education, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Academy of Sciences; and three courses taught by Oriental Institute graduate students: Archaeology and the Bible, by Aaron Burke; Language of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Robert Hawley; and What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Really Say?, by Michael Beetley and Miller Prosser.

Two special field trips were offered in conjunction with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. The Scribal Tradition, led by Moshe Shaingarten, a rabbi and scribe who produces Torah Scrolls and other sacred Hebrew texts, included visits to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition and the Oriental Institute's Egyptian Gallery, as well as a demonstration of scribal techniques still in use today. Preserving the Ancient Past offered exhibit visits and conversations with Conservator Tania Bitler, who described the painstaking techniques used in conserving the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Laura D'Alessandro, Oriental Institute Senior Conservator, who demonstrated the work being done in our new, state-of-the art conservation laboratory.

Collaboration with The Field Museum brought us many adult education participants who had previously been unaware of the wide variety of public programs offered by the Oriental Institute. The Millennium Project, an even more extensive collaboration that took place throughout 1999, brought Oriental Institute programs to the attention of audiences across the city and state. Sponsored by the Chicago Tribune and various foundations and agencies, the Millennium Project involved more than 180 local and statewide cultural institutions who collaborated to explore themes relevant to the arrival of the twenty-first century.

The Millennium Project theme of "New Directions" inspired Museum Education to partner with cultural institutions who were examining ancient Egypt from innovative points of view. In October, we joined with the Chicago Moving Company, a modern dance troupe noted for its artistic innovation and powerful performance style, to present Coming Forth By Day. This spectacular dance program, critically acclaimed by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, was inspired by a poetic translation of prayers and spells from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Presented on the stage in Mandel Hall, Coming Forth by Day was created by Nana Shineflug, the Chicago Moving Company's award-winning choreographer. "New Directions" also inspired Rockin' Ancient Egypt, a pop concert by Rocktober Production's The Goblins, who used elements of performance art and Chicago-style improvisation to explore the history of pop music related to ancient Egypt. A favorite on campus, The Goblins drew a large crowd of students to see the concert and then view the new Egyptian Gallery. In November, Oriental Institute members and friends spent an evening at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the city's most exciting new performance space, to see a production of Antony and Cleopatra. A highlight of the evening was the opportunity to meet and discuss the play with Barbara Gaines, the company's founder and artistic director, as well as members of the Antony and Cleopatra cast.

Y2K BC - The World 4,000 Years Ago was our final Millennium Project program. A day-long symposium, Y2K BC was a millennial event with a unique point of view - the world's earliest civilizations at the year 2000 bc. Oriental Institute lecturers included Peter Dorman, Associate Professor of Egyptology; McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology; and David Schloen, Assistant Professor of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology. Guest lecturer Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, discussed the great cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. This program was co-sponsored by the University's Graham School of General Studies.

Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs was another innovative and highly successful special event. This day-long seminar and workshop used lectures, reading exercises, and study sessions to focus on the development of the Egyptian language and script, and to provide participants with the skills needed to read royal names and basic inscriptions on Egyptian reliefs and monuments. The program, evaluated by participants as "one of the Oriental Institute's best," was prepared and presented by Peter Dorman, Associate Professor of Egyptology; Janet H. Johnson, Professor of Egyptology; and Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Associate Curator.

With the reopening of the Egyptian Gallery, free drop-by events returned to the programming schedule. These included informal, docent-led tours following each Sunday film showing; Lunchtime in Another Time, a summer series of noontime gallery talks presented to welcome the University and Hyde Park community to the reopened museum; and Women in Ancient Egypt, a gallery talk presented in March in conjunction with Women's History Month. These programs could not have taken place without the support and involvement of docents Debbie Aliber, Jane Belcher, Rebecca Binkley, Wanda Bolton, Teresa Hintzke, George Junker, Nina Longley, Kathleen Mineck, Stephen Ritzel, Adrienne Runge, and Deloris Sanders. Robert K. Ritner, Associate Professor of Egyptology, presented a special free public lecture, Magical Conventions in the Egyptian Romance of Setna Khamuas, as part of the Works of the Mind series co-sponsored by the Graham School's Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults.

"Schools in the Museum" Project

Since 1993, the Museum Education Office and a team of Chicago public school teachers have been collaborators in an educational initiative that has made Oriental Institute resources available to a wide-ranging cross section of underserved Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Generously supported by a series of major grants from the Polk Bros. Foundation, this project has created a rich array of award-winning classroom curriculum materials and programs that have enhanced the study of the ancient Near East for more than 14,000 CPS students. During the past year, this initiative entered its final phase with "Schools in the Museum: Integrating Classroom and Museum Experiences." This project concentrated on ways the concepts and activities presented in the Oriental Institute's classroom materials could serve as a springboard for resources and programs directly related to the new Egyptian Gallery. The result was an entirely new menu of museum experiences that included

  • guided tours focusing on the processes of archaeology, led by museum docents in tandem with Oriental Institute graduate students
  • sketching sessions that focused on individual artifacts in the Egyptian Gallery, which served as vehicles to stimulate students' observation and critical thinking skills
  • a bilingual education program where Spanish-speaking CPS students studied ancient Egypt using the Institute's curriculum materials, translated into Spanish, and then came to the museum to explore ancient Egyptian culture guided by a Spanish-speaking docent

All these and other approaches, successfully piloted by partner teachers and their classes, are now available to become program options for schools that visit the museum. In addition, our teacher collaborators assisted in the development of a new, exhibit-based educational resource that includes an orientation to the Egyptian Gallery's themes and layout; vocabulary activities for students; full-color images and in-depth information on selected artifacts; and suggested ways that teachers coming to the museum with their classes can guide their own students in object-based learning activities. This resource is now a model for similar materials that can accompany each of the museum's galleries as they reopen.

In November 1999 Museum Education hosted an Educators Institute to share the outcomes of "Schools in the Museum" with CPS teachers city-wide. Based on the desire to stress quality over quantity, this one-day event was designed to serve a maximum of eighty educators, and it rapidly filled to capacity. A lecture by Laura D'Alessandro, Oriental Institute Senior Conservator, gave the teachers a behind-the-scenes look at choices a museum must make when installing a new gallery. Tours led by docents and Education staff introduced the teachers to the new menu of museum visit options. Workshop sessions led by our teacher partners showed educators ways in which museum visits could be fully integrated into the curriculum. Participant evaluations all gave this program the highest rating possible and urged us to offer more events like this in the future.

Anna Rochester, an extraordinarily talented and experienced museum and classroom educator, has been the driving force behind all of the museum's CPS partnership programs since 1997. For the "Schools in the Museum" project she was aided by a panel of CPS elementary-school teachers, curriculum coordinators, and administrators that included Clothilde Bennett, Haley School; Mary Cobb, Ray School; Richard Diaz, Field School; Mary McElroy, Donaghue School; Ingia Jackson, Sawyer School; Trish Ronan, Clissold School; Jeffrey Sadoff, Jackson School; Shirley Talley-Smith, Lafayette School; and Georgette White, Bass School. Two consultants also assisted in shaping the project. Sara Spurlark, Associate Director of the University of Chicago's Center for School Improvement, has been our mentor and guide since 1993. Susan Stodolsky, professor in the University of Chicago's Departments of Education and Psychology, joined us in 1998 to serve as the project's evaluator. Graduate students and arts-educator consultants have also provided important assistance. These include graduate students Jesse Casana, Clemens Reichel, Jason Ur, and Justine Way, and arts educators Liz Cruger, Bob Gadomski, Anna Pertzoff, and Hardy Schlick.

Teacher-Training Seminars

Anna Rochester is also involved in additional grant-funded programs that have helped Museum Education expand its services to the CPS. Since 1998, generous support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation has enabled us to present two series of in-depth teacher training seminars on ancient Egypt and Nubia in collaboration with the CPS Teachers Academy for Professional Growth. Designed to meet educators' needs for both academic content and teaching resources, these series of seven-day-long seminars began with lectures by Oriental Institute staff and volunteers, followed by workshops that engaged teachers in hands-on involvement with the Oriental Institute's curriculum materials on ancient Egypt and Nubia. This approach enabled educators to relate the academic content of the lectures to specific teaching and learning strategies for the classroom.

This year's seminar lectures were led by John Larson, Oriental Institute Museum Archivist; Stephen Ritzel, Volunteer Docent Captain; and Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Museum Associate Curator. Workshop sessions were led by Anna Rochester. This year, the reopened Egyptian Gallery gave Anna a new and invaluable teaching tool: she was able to involve teachers in ways to use the museum's collections, both for their own learning and as a resource for their students.

Thirty-one teachers from twenty-five different CPS schools took part in this year's seminar program. As was true in 1998, this year's participants represented the gamut of CPS instruction, from pre-kindergarten to high school, and from special needs programs to services for the gifted. Taken as a group, these educators reach close to three thousand students annually. The success of the seminar could be seen in the work produced by these teachers' students. Projects ranged from a student-produced puppet show based on the opera Aida all the way to a computer presentation in which students showcased all they had learned about ancient Egypt using a hypercard software program.

This year's seminar also included the World-Wide Web as a resource for study of the ancient Near East, an option not explored in 1998. Led by John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory, one full session was devoted to navigation on the web, with special emphasis on the Oriental Institute's own website. Seminar participants with a special interest in computers have joined Anna Rochester to help transform classroom and museum lessons from the seminar into an on-line Resource Center for Teachers. This Resource Center will be an entirely new educational service provided by the Oriental Institute.

Chicago WebDocent

A project funded by the Chicago Public Schools is helping to expand the Museum Education's involvement with educational programming for the web. Called the Chicago WebDocent (CWD), this initiative is a collaboration between the Chicago Public Schools/University of Chicago Internet Project - a consortium working to meet the hardware, software, and teacher training needs of local schools - and several Chicago cultural institutions. These include the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago Historical Society, The Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Oriental Institute. Chicago WebDocent's goal is to develop a model for the production of web-based curriculum materials based on the resources of multiple museums. Anna Rochester is the Oriental Institute representative to CWD, and the project is gaining national attention. In April Anna joined other project personnel to present a paper on the CWD at the Museums and Web 2000 International Conference held in Minneapolis; she was also a CWD presenter at the National Education Computing Conference held in Atlanta in June. Although CWD is still in its beginning stages, the lessons and procedures learned, and the relationships that have been formed, hold great promise for educational enrichment throughout the city, the region, and eventually the nation.

Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership

Closer to home, a generous local foundation has awarded us a second year of support to further relationships with our community's sister institutions and our neighborhood public schools. The Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership has enabled the Court Theater, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Smart Museum of Art, University Theater, the University's Music Department, and the Oriental Institute to expand our educational enrichment services for Hyde Park/Kenwood schoolchildren.

This year, the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School joined the Oriental Institute's previous neighborhood partners - Bret Harte School, Ray School, and Kenwood Academy. Working in collaboration with teachers and administrators, Museum Education was able to offer these schools a wide range of educational experiences that could never have taken place without the support of the Fine Arts Partnership.

Bret Harte and Ray Schools were both invited to take part in guided tours and hands-on arts activities at the museum, as well as artist residencies that focused on student recreation of ancient Egyptian arts processes. In addition, the entire sixth grade at Ray School, a total of ninety-five students, took part in special programs that introduced them to the tools and processes used in archaeological excavations. They also met for a discussion session with archaeology graduate student Justine Way, who described and answered questions about her work at the site of the pyramids at Giza. These programs were the initial stages of a project that will develop a permanent simulated archaeological dig site on the Ray School grounds, which will be available to all Ray students and possibly other partner schools as well.

At Kenwood Academy, support from the Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership helped us repeat and expand last year's highly successful collaboration on Roman Egypt with Latin teacher Alice Mulberry and her classes. Graduate student Clemens Reichel visited Kenwood to present an introductory slide lecture on archaeology in the ancient Near East. Students then visited the museum for a guided tour focusing on Egypt in Roman times. Two classroom sessions involved students in the reconstruction of ancient pottery using ceramic reproduction kits from the Archaeological Institute of America. This special unit ended with two classroom visits by graduate student Jesse Casana. He introduced students to archaeological drawing, a key step in the research and recording processes archaeologists must follow when working with ancient ceramics.

This year, Kenwood's African-American History program joined the collaboration. Bus transportation funded by the project enabled teacher Erica Coleman to bring all her students to the Oriental Institute for a special program of film showings, discussion sessions, and docent-led guided tours of the Egyptian Gallery.

Thanks to the Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership we were able to provide the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School, our newest collaborator, with a six-part Ancient Arts and Mythology program in conjunction with the Smart Museum of Art. The entire sixth grade took part in two museum visits focusing on ancient Egyptian art and culture. These museum learning experiences were led by Docents Kathleen Mineck and Deloris Sanders. The museum visits were followed by classroom programs on ancient Egypt and Nubia by visiting artists and museum educators. These classroom programs included the creation of ancient-Egyptian-style reliefs like those the students had seen at the museum. This arts project was led by Anna Rochester and Karen Terras, an Oriental Institute docent and arts educator. Also included were storytelling, creative dramatics, and the creation of wall-sized murals of Nubian gods and royalty as they would have appeared in ancient Nubian temples. These projects were led by actress and artist Liz Cruger. Following the Oriental Institute's Charter School programs, the Smart Museum used their collections as a springboard for gallery visits and hands-on experiences that focused on mythology and art in ancient Greece and China.

In the spring, the Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership helped Museum Education serve the neighborhood in an even wider way. Students and families of Hyde Park/Kenwood's elementary schools were invited to attend a free, early evening performance of Karagöz: Turkish Shadow Puppet Theater. More than two hundred children and parents filled Breasted Hall to near capacity as two master shadow puppeteers from Ankara delighted the audience with this centuries-old folk tradition. Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, this program could not have taken place without the support of the Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership.

Last summer, projects from our Fine Arts Partnership schools, as well as our other school collaborators, were showcased in a museum display of student work entitled Hands on the Past. Designed by Anna Rochester, this colorful display has been successful in several ways. It has provided teachers visiting the museum with curriculum ideas; it has appealed to students who like seeing other children in action; and it has introduced the general public to the museum's role as provider of educational services for Chicago's teachers and schoolchildren.

Oriental Institute School Affiliates

Generous support and major grant funding has been crucial in enabling Museum Education to develop a wide-ranging program of highly successful and nationally-recognized services and materials for schools. In 1998, principals of several schools that had collaborated with us over the years joined together to help create the Oriental Institute/CPS School Affiliates Program, a structured system that encourages schools to pay a modest fee for services as grant-funded support comes to an end. In 1999 we were delighted when principals and local school councils voted to renew the Affiliates Program, allowing materials production and classroom visits to continue for their schools. The success of the Affiliates Program is a reaffirmation of the value schools place on the educational services we offer for teachers and students.

Behind the Scenes

None of the Education Department's services could have taken place without the support and guidance of the Oriental Institute's faculty and staff, and the ongoing interest and assistance of the museum's docents. My heartfelt thanks go to the Museum Education staff, whose long working hours, selfless service, and extraordinary creativity are what make everything happen!

As is evident throughout this report, Anna Rochester's talents, skills, and dedication make her an invaluable asset to the Oriental Institute. Several additional people deserve special mention here. Much of the success of all our programming is due to Judy Chavin, Education Programs Associate, who has worked "behind the scenes" as our public relations officer, editor, and graphic expert since May 1998. Judy writes and distributes our quarterly press packets and all individual press releases. She also designs and supervises production of our educational and marketing materials. This year, her tasks included a complete redesign of our quarterly events brochure to incorporate the many new adult education and family programs offered in conjunction with the Egyptian Gallery, the Millennium Project, and the Dead Sea Scrolls collaboration with The Field Museum. In addition, Judy wrote, developed the format, and designed the brochure that announced the resumption of the museum's guided tour program. She also produced a series of marketing pieces for individual programs, as well as highly effective display advertisements for several community calendars and selected local and national media.

Finally, Judy is always on the watch for public events that allow us to share information about our programs. Last year she introduced us to the Department of Cultural Affairs' annual Spotlight on Chicago event for educators. This year, with the reopening of the Egyptian Gallery, she urged us also to take part in the Spotlight on Chicago event for media and tourist agency representatives. There, she operated our booth with great success, making media contacts that have served us well throughout the year. Our office is fortunate to have such a capable, talented, and experienced professional on staff.

All of us are also fortunate to have the assistance of another marketing professional. Debby Halpern, who recently joined the Volunteer Program, has been helping us develop marketing strategies for Museum Education's award-winning curriculum materials.

In spring 1999 Michelle Schwegmann joined our staff as Education Programs Assistant. She rapidly mastered the tasks of this position, which include implementing the registration process for all reserved adult education and family programs, handling all financial record-keeping, and providing general information services for the public. The reopening of the Egyptian Gallery meant that Michelle was also responsible for all guided tour reservation and confirmation services. In order to process the extraordinary volume of calls and inquiries regarding tours, she created a reservation format that is done exclusively by mail.

Everyone in Museum Education appreciated Michelle's efficiency, organizational skills, and her great good nature. We were sad to see her depart one year after joining us when she and her fiancé took advantage of an opportunity to move to California. Megan Kossiakoff is our new Education Programs Assistant. A graduate in history from Stanford, Megan is a talented writer and researcher, as well as an experienced office manager. She has quickly become an invaluable member of the Education staff and it is a pleasure to have her with us!

In the next section, you will see the accomplishments of the museum's Volunteer Program, supervised by Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman. These dedicated and extraordinarily creative women, along with their remarkable team of docents, have continued to maintain the highly successful Outreach Program developed during renovation, as well as the resumption of a full schedule of docent-led tours in the reopened Egyptian Gallery. They merit our accolades and congratulations!

Finally, let me once again express my admiration and gratitude to the Museum Education staff and volunteers who work with us. I commend you all for your efforts to provide the very best in museum education programming for our members, the University community, and the public audiences that we serve.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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