Join the Conversation about the Museum’s Latest Special Exhibition!


On August 24 the Kelsey Museum’s latest special exhibition, Urban Biographies, Ancient and Modern, opened to the public. It will be on display until January 8, 2019. An online version of the exhibition will remain available on the Kelsey website even after the museum show closes. 

The exhibition features Kelsey-sponsored archaeological research at Gabii in Italy, Olynthos in Greece, and Notion in Turkey and compares these ancient cities with modern Detroit. Comments on both the exhibition and the website are very welcome.

What does the concept of an “urban biography” mean to you? What do you think we can learn by comparing past and present? What are some of the details of the biography of your hometown, or of another city you know well? Please leave a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of this page.

4 thoughts on “Join the Conversation about the Museum’s Latest Special Exhibition!

  1. Suzanne Davis 08/31/2018 / 9:25 am

    My favorite part of the exhibition is the video “Notion: A Journey Through Time,” which (in our gallery here at the Kelsey) is projected onto a 3D model of the landscape (but you can also watch it on the website!). My Kelsey Museum coworker Carrie Roberts and I both know the geography of the site pretty well, but we still spent a good 15 minutes staring this display today, transfixed. It is such a nice visual aid for seeing how the local landscape has changed over time and what the team’s plans for the site’s future are.

  2. J. Troy Samuels 09/10/2018 / 8:52 am

    The archaeological fieldwork being carried out by the Kelsey museum at the moment is pretty remarkable, and it was really quite lovely to see all our projects highlighted in the same space in a manner that promotes the dialogue we have within our academic community in a broader, public forum. I never really thought I would get to see things I excavated (even in 3-d printed form) on display in our museum. I also want to echo Susanne’s comments that the “Notion: A Journey Through Time” video was really awesome! I want one for Gabii.

    The addition of the Detroit material is also so important, especially if we take the initiative and use this type of comparison to bring the questions our excavation work raises to bear in our local community. This is a fantastic start and I would love to see it leading to more Detroit-facing public scholarship on the part of our museum and excavation teams.

    • J. Troy Samuels 09/10/2018 / 8:54 am

      Apologies to Suzanne for the name misspelling!

  3. Doug White 09/11/2018 / 2:03 pm

    I was on the curator tour of the exhibit two days ago. The weaving together of personal and on-site perspectives in the videos, the elucidation of old and new investigative strategies and technologies, and the thought-provoking physical displays is all very informative and effective. I agree that the video projection on a 3D landscape model, “Notion: A Journey Throughout Time,” is transfixing! The Detroit interviews are quite engaging and also thought-provoking, triggering both speculations as to what the residents of the ancient cities would have to say, as well as thoughts about my own life experiences in urban environments. Finally, I want to say that in 1969 I participated as a grad student in a UM survey of pre-Hispanic settlement patterns in the Ixtapalapa region of the Valley of Mexico, so I found the Notion exhibit, which goes into the use of surface surveys, of special interest. Thanks to all who put this wonderful exhibit together! It’s also great to have it online.

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