New exhibits and lectures at the OI
New exhibits and lectures at the OI
The OI welcomes Theo van den Hout as the interim director.
This morning, April 1, Theo van den Hout, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Hittite and Anatolian Languages, stepped into his new role as the interim director of the Oriental Institute.

Theo received his PhD in Hittite and Anatolian Languages from the University of Amsterdam in 1989 after receiving a BA and MA in Classics, Comparative Indo-European Linguistics, and Anatolian Studies at both Leiden and Amsterdam.

The author of several books, Theo is a corresponding member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 2016 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Theo is currently the chief editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD) at the OI.

Please join us in welcoming Theo to the director’s office. 

The OI Museum’s special exhibit Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present, opens today!
Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present
April 1–December 31
OI Museum
Reservations are required


Reserve your tickets to the OI Museum and visit our new special exhibit, which features the late nineteenth-century photographs by Antoin Sevruguin. Curated by Tasha Vorderstrasse, OI, Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present presents to the public for the first time a selection from the OI Museum’s collection of over 150 photographic prints attributed primarily to this acclaimed photographer of Qajar Iran. The exhibit also celebrates the conservation of the full collection of original prints, thanks to generous funding by the American Institute of Iranian Studies. 
An additional focus of the exhibition is the lasting impact of Sevruguin’s unique vision, as demonstrated through the work of Iranian-Canadian artist Yassaman Ameri. 

Click here for a video tour through Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present.
Every Saturday, the OI Museum is open to OI members and the UChicago community only. 
Click to reserve your visit

OI April Members' Lecture
News from Old Uruk
Margarete van Ess, head of the Orient Departent of the   German Archaeological Institute
Wednesday, April 7
7 p.m. (CST)
Premieres on the OI YouTube channel


This month the OI welcomes Margarete van Ess, head of the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute. Margarete joins us for a lecture exploring her recent fieldwork at the legendary site of Uruk in southern Iraq, the ancient city memorialized in the epic of Gilgamesh as the home of the mythological king. Van Ess examines evidence of monumental construction projects, including the city walls and canals, theorizing how ecological factors might have played a role in the construction and development of this ancient center of urbanization.
This video will remain up for you to watch at your leisure.
Click for the link

New life for the ancient lyre

Keep an eye on our YouTube channel as we dig deeper into ancient Sumerian culture with a podcast exploring the modern-day use of the ancient lyre of Ur. This month, the OI’s Steven Townshend is joined by members of The Lyre Ensemble for a two-part podcast that explores the reconstruction of the ancient lyre, and the groups 2014 presentation of The Flood on BBC radio.

Links to this podcast will be available soon on OI social media.
OI Museum Gallery Talk
Antoin Sevruguin: “Photographies Artistiques” of the Iranian Past
Delphine Poinsot, OI postdoc scholar

Tuesday, April 20
5 p.m. (CST)

Live on Zoom

Ancient Iranian rock reliefs, carved on the sides of mountains mainly by the Sasanian kings (AD 224–651), have important politico-historical dimensions. Sevruguin’s eyes (and camera) drive us to look at these reliefs as major artistic productions of Iran in late antiquity. Regarding Sevruguin as he regards the past, reminds us that beyond political history, there are also technical feats, and much beauty. Focusing on Sevruguin’s photographs of Sasanian rock reliefs, Delphine Poinsot, OI, discusses how Sevruguin's work is artistic–and not only documentary–and how this artistic dimension can be a vector of understanding and knowledge for the art historian of ancient Iran.
A link to this live Zoom will be sent to all registrants closer to the event date.
Click to register
Caring for the Collection: Art Conservation at the Oriental Institute Museum
Instructor, Alison Whyte, Oriental Institute conservator
4 weeks live via Zoom and recorded
Mondays, April 12–May 3 
5 p.m.–7 p.m. (CST)

Have you ever wondered why the lights are so low in museum exhibits? Or why you can’t bring food and drinks into museum galleries? Or what goes on behind the scenes in a museum to keep a priceless ancient collection available for future generations to enjoy? Explore the art, science, and history of museum conservation with Oriental Institute conservator Alison Whyte as she leads you through the step-by-step process of a typical conservation treatment, including preventative techniques and the cutting-edge analyses used by conservators to examine works of art. 

Click to register
Languages and Writing Systems of Anatolia
Instructor, Emily Smith, NELC PhD candidate
6 weeks live on Zoom and recorded
Thursdays, April 15–May 20 
5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. (CST)

Explore the development of the Anatolian language family, a group of related languages spoken during the Bronze and Iron Ages across a broad stretch of modern-day Turkey. In this six-week course, we will survey these languages–Hittite, Luwian, Palaic, Lydian, Lycian, Carian, Pisidic, and Sidetic–discuss their relation to both one another and within the larger Indo-European family of languages, and explore the origins and development of the writing systems in which these languages were recorded.

This is not a language class. While we may discuss aspects of the grammar and vocabulary of different languages for comparison, no prior knowledge of linguistics or Anatolian languages is necessary.

Click to register
Secret of the Mummies
Ages 5–12
Saturday, April 16
4 p.m.–5 p.m. (CST)
Live on Zoom

Mummies!
What did ancient Egyptians do to make them?
Why did ancient Egyptians make them?
How do archaeologists study them today?

Log on to the OI online as we unwrap what we already know about ancient Egyptian mummies, including the story of the first known mummy! Explore the process of mummification and tomb preparation while you learn why and how we study mummies today. Plus, we’ll guide you through the creation of your very own mini-mummy.

A link to this live Zoom will be sent to all registrants closer to the event date.

Click to register
Gving Day
April 21–22

On April 21–22 the OI and the entire university are celebrating Giving Day, a special twenty-four hour campus-wide fundraising appeal that brings together our global community of alumni, students, and friends to support our research and education programs and helps us build a better tomorrow. This day will focus our gift requests for the OI Community Fund, which provides essential support for our ongoing research, education, and outreach efforts! Save the date to join us on Giving Day, and consider making a contribution to help the OI enter its second century of research and discovery with momentum!
(Re-)Interpreting the Photographs of Antoin Sevruguin: A Close Look
Tasha Vorderstrasse, OI
Wednesday, April 21
5:00 p.m. (CST)
Live on Zoom

Join us for a special Giving Day virtual curator talk with Tasha Vorderstrasse! Antoin Sevruguin carefully constructed his photographs, but once they left his possession, they were interpreted and reinterpreted by both his contemporary and later audiences. Join us for a close viewing of a small selection of Sevruguin's photographs and a talk that explores how these views have changed through time.

Click to register
May Members' Lecture 
(G)Hosting 
Michael Rakowitz
Wednesday, May 5
5:00 p.m. (CST)
Live via webinar

The OI is excited to welcome renowned contemporary artist Michael Rakowitz for a live online lecture. As part of his series The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has collaborated with the OI Museum to create a reappearance of a relief from the northwest palace at Nimrud, destroyed by Isis in 2015.
Click to register
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