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1992-93 Annual Report

William M. Sumner, Director

This report provides an overview of the accomplishments, new initiatives, and events of the past year. We can look back on the year with considerable satisfaction as we enter the new year with confidence and high expectations.

The Faculty and Staff

The Oriental Institute conducted a national search for a new faculty member in Syrian-Anatolian archaeology. We are all very gratified that our leading candidate, Aslihan Yener, accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor, effective on July 1, 1993. Aslihan received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Near Eastern archaeology; she has taught at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey, and most recently held a research appointment at the Smithsonian Institution. She is currently engaged in an exciting field project at Göltepe in Turkey where she is investigating early mining and metallurgical technology. Her discovery of evidence for tin mining and smelting in Turkey promises to change fundamentally our understanding of early production and trade in tin.

I also wish to extend a warm welcome to Cynthia Echols, the new Assistant Director for Development, and Carole Krucoff, the new Head of Education and Public Programs in the Museum. Cynthia has long experience at the University of Chicago, first with the University Press and most recently as Associate Director of Corporate Relations in University Development and Alumni Relations. Carole comes to us from the Naper Settlement Museum Village, where she was Director of Education and Public Programs. We all anticipate many productive years of collaboration with Cynthia and Carole on a wide range of Institute activities. Late in the year we were saddened by the deaths of Thorkild Jacobsen, former Director of the Institute, and Richard Parker, former Director of the Epigraphic Survey and former Professor of Egyptology at the Institute. Memorials to these fine scholars, who always remained staunch friends of the Institute, follow this Introduction.


The faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute once again demonstrated their commitment to our research mission. The archaeological expeditions and in-house dictionary projects continued to make valuable contributions, and individual scholarship continued to thrive. Among the highlights of this year were the identification of the earliest woven fabric adhering to an antler haft from Çayönü, the discovery of a splendid little figurine of a domesticated horse at Sweyhat, and the completion of the Opet Festival publication. This monumental publication, the largest yet produced by the Epigraphic Survey, will appear later in 1993-94, funded by a generous grant from the Getty Grant Program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The many other accomplishments of the past year are presented in some detail in the following sections, which provide a comprehensive view of current research activities at the Institute.

The Oriental Institute Museum

The Museum Education Department initiated a number of exciting new programs this year, thanks in large measure to generous grants from the Polk Brothers Foundation and the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust. The department also benefited from the continued growth of the volunteer program. We owe a special debt of gratitude to our many loyal veteran volunteers and also to the new class of docents who completed training this year.

Other significant events in the museum included the completion of computer registration of all 76,000 registered objects in the collection and the receipt of an Institute of Museum Services grant to purchase museum storage cabinets for the textile collections. A delightful new alcove was installed in the Egyptian Gallery on art and artisans in ancient Egypt. The Persian Gallery was greatly improved by the addition of new labels, new graphics on Persepolis, and the complete relining of all cases.

The Oriental Institute Legacy Campaign

This year we passed several significant milestones in our renovation, expansion, and climate control project for the museum. In November the schematic plan and budget for the project, prepared by Hammond Beeby and Babka, were approved by the Campus Planning Committee of the University Board of Trustees. The approved plan calls for the introduction of state-of-the-art museum climate control in the galleries, basement storage areas, and the renovated Conservation Center and the Archaeological Research Center. A new wing of 21,000 gross square feet will be constructed immediately to the south of the Mesopotamian Gallery to house expanded object and archival storage, book stacks for the Research Archives, and the climate control mechanical system. The plan includes renovated space for public education activities. An entrance ramp, new elevator controls, and renovated public rest rooms will be designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The building project, which addresses the most pressing need for capital improvements, represents the greatest challenge to the Institute since James Henry Breasted dedicated the existing building in 1931. We intend to meet this challenge and build a firm foundation to support the mission of the Institute in the next century. The total project costs will be $10.1 million. Contributions in the form of gifts, pledges, and bequests during the planning stage of the project represent 24% of the $10.1 million total. We are encouraged by this early response and have taken steps to exploit major sources of federal funding. Our proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant Program for $1 million is currently under review. At present we are preparing another proposal for submission to the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Heritage Preservation Program, also for $1 million. We will hear the results of both proposals early in 1994.

In the autumn of 1993 we will launch a four year public campaign, The Oriental Institute Legacy Campaign, to meet this challenge. This effort will be guided by Cynthia Echols, Assistant Director for Development, in close cooperation with University Development and Alumni Relations. The Legacy Campaign Committee, chaired by Jill Carlotta Maher and O. J. Sopranos, has been established. We are all most grateful to Carlotta and Jim for stepping forward to provide leadership at this critical moment in the history of the Institute. We are confident that, with the assistance of the Legacy Campaign Committee and our faithful members, we will meet the challenge so that the Institute will enter the twenty-first century prepared to carry out our mission-to enliven the imagination of future generations with vivid knowledge of our shared heritage from the cultures and civilizations of the ancient Near East.



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