From the Archives 23 — August 2017

By SEBASTIÁN ENCINA, Collections Manager

In the coming months, the Kelsey Museum is going to be seeing some changes to our neighborhood. The new Trotter Multicultural building as well as the expansion of LSA for their Opportunity Hub will both be commencing shortly. Normally, any construction is nerve-wracking for museums, as vibrations can cause deterioration to artifacts. With this activity being so close to the Kelsey, we will be seeing even more potential movement in the galleries and storage. Throw on top of all this the fact that there will be construction on two fronts, so vibrations will be steady and ongoing for a long period of time.

Small and big vibrations will cause artifacts to move, but the shaking can cause flaking and other breaking to occur. If you wander the galleries and see something amiss, please inform security or notify museum staff if they are in the galleries at the time.  Fortunately, the Kelsey is staffed by high caliber professionals who are already on top of this, and have a plan to mitigate the situation. Thanks to them, we expect to see no damage during this construction period.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we look back when the opposite situation was taking place. Back in 2007, the Kelsey was undergoing its own construction. This project affected our neighbors, the students living in Newberry and Barbour Residences, as well as our colleagues in LSA. For the Kelsey, this was a long time coming, as calls for a new building for the collections had been written decades before. Finally, in 2009, the doors at the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing opened to the public, the culmination of several years’ worth of work.

Those who have been with the Kelsey Museum for a long time will remember that the space where Upjohn is now was a parking lot. About 20–25 cars could fit here, often for staff of the residences and the Kelsey. Much to the chagrin of several people who enjoyed parking close to work, the lot was removed and the new wing went up instead.

Images shared here show the construction at different phases. While construction was underway, Collections Manager Sebastián Encina went around photographing the progress from various angles, including the roof of LSA, the Student Activities Building, the former Kelsey archives room, even street views. We are now fortunate to have this collection of images that encapsulate a portion of our own history. It reminds us how much work goes into the planning and actualization of a construction project. At the time, it was difficult to imagine what the end result was going to look like. Now, ten years later, we have a whole history in this building already, many stories shared, many names and voices passing through.


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From the Archives 21 — June 2017

SEBASTIÁN ENCINA, Museum Collections Manager

“I am very pleased to announce that Terry Wilfong has generously agreed to serve as Director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology effective June 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.”

With these words, LSA Dean Andrew Martin announced to the Kelsey Museum community that Professor Terry Wilfong, longtime curator of Graeco-Roman Egyptian Collections at the Kelsey Museum, would assume the responsibilities of Museum director. Terry follows a long line of distinguished directors of the Kelsey Museum. Each director furthered the mission of the Museum in their own right, making the institution stronger and a greater presence on the University of Michigan campus and around the world. Without each of these strong leaders, the Kelsey would not be the institution it is now. To each of these we owe a great deal of gratitude.

In honor of the news and Terry’s appointment, this month’s “From the Archives” presents this black-and-white image from the 1990s, though no date is associated with the image. It was found during routine cleaning in the archives. Its appeal as history of the Museum and its staff made it an easy addition to the photographic archives (KAP00007).

In the image, we see Dr. Wilfong, perhaps not long after he was hired by the University of Michigan as professor and curator. He is standing in front of the some displays we had in Newberry Hall, long before the Upjohn Exhibition Wing was even dreamed up. In those days, the Kelsey was constricted in exhibition space and possibilities.

Since this photograph was taken, there have been many changes. The Museum has a new building, our staff has grown in numbers, and our reach has expanded with more exhibitions and outreach and excavations. Terry has earned tenure, reached the level of full professor, and now is director. Both have grown together, and much of the Kelsey’s success during that time can be attributed to Terry’s efforts.  With Terry’s directorship, we are excited about the upcoming years.


Professor Terry Wilfong presenting some early Kelsey Museum exhibitions in Newberry Hall.

News from the Conservation Lab

BY SUZANNE DAVIS, Associate Curator and Head of Conservation, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Conservator Carrie Roberts.
Conservator Carrie Roberts.

Last month we welcomed a new conservator, Caroline Roberts, to the Museum. Carrie takes over the position previously held by Claudia Chemello. Regular Kelsey visitors and staff will remember Carrie from her year here as a Samuel H. Kress Conservation Fellow in 2011–2012. As a Kress Fellow, Carrie conducted research on the Terenouthis funerary stelae, performed treatment on a cartonnage mummy mask, and contributed to the Conserving Antiquity exhibition. Following her time as a Kress Fellow, she held conservation fellowships at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and a Master of Science in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware. Her interests range from conservation treatment of stone objects and architecture to preventive conservation, and she specializes in the conservation of archaeological materials both in museum collections and in the field. Prior to joining the Kelsey she worked as a consulting conservator for the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Excavations at Selinunte, Italy, where she supervised conservation graduate students and conducted multispectral imaging research.

Carrie has a strong interest in conservation education and outreach. She has lectured for the Getty’s VITA high school outreach program and for the University of Delaware’s conservation graduate program. She is also committed to professional service. She is a member of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and has held various committee appointments within that organization. In her new job at the Kelsey Museum, Carrie is especially interested in forging stronger relationships with University of Michigan research laboratories and scientists. She is also looking forward to developing the Kelsey’s in-house abilities to conduct technical research using a variety of low-tech means, such as multi-spectral imaging. We are very happy to welcome Carrie to the Kelsey!

Relaunch of Kelsey Museum Blog

When you think about an archaeology museum, what comes to mind? Dusty old objects behind glass or hung on the walls? A place that holds collections of priceless things? A library of antiquities? What about a vibrant and dynamic organization? A place where objects and people are constantly changing how we understand the past? In this relaunch of the Kelsey Museum blog, we would like to show you how busy and exciting the Kelsey Museum is through weekly posts from the people who make this happen. From conservators to curators and docents to graduate students, we would like to show you all the amazing things that go on behind the scenes at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.