Chicago, IL, Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago

Current name(s) of destination(s): 
Chicago, IL, Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago
Destination category: 
Institutional history: 

The University of Chicago’s Department of Semitic Languages resolved to collect artifacts in order to further its teaching mission. The first president of the University, William Rainey Harper, was a Biblical scholar, and in 1894, he appointed James Henry Breasted, the first American to received a PhD in Egyptology as Instructor in Egyptology and Assistant Director and Curator of Egyptology of its museum (Abt 2011:56). The first Egyptian objects were purchased by Breasted during his honeymoon in Egypt in 1894–95. In 1896, the collection was installed (along with Far Eastern artifacts) in the new Haskell Oriental Museum. In 1897, the University of Chicago established the Chicago Society of Egyptian Research (also known as the “Fund for Chicago”) that raised subscriptions for the American branch of the EEF in order to build up the University’s collection through divisions. From 1926 to 1933, the Oriental Institute, with funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., excavated Medinet Habu, adding more than 4,000 objects through division with the Antiquities Service, including a monumental statue of Tutankhamun. The Oriental Institute also conducted epigraphic surveys in Saqqara and Luxor, that latter of which is ongoing. In 1931, the collection (which incudes artifacts from across the ancient Near East), was moved from Haskell Museum to a new building built expressly for the Oriental Institute.

OI has material from EEF/BSAE/EES:

1894-95: Naqada, Ballas

1895-96 Thebes, Ramesseum

1896-97: El-Kab

1894-95: Deir el-Bahri

1897-98: Naucratis, Daphnae

1897-98: Dendera

1898-99: Hu

1899-1900: Abydos

1900-01: Abydos

1901-02: Abydos

1903-04: Inhasya, Deir el-Bahri, Oxyrhynchus

1904-05: Deir el-Bahri, Sinai

1921: BSAE Petrie

1922: Amarna

Related archive documents

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Excavations from which artefacts are distributed: