Harvard's Semitic Museum, closed to the public for 40 years, will re-open its doors to museum goers on April 5 with an exhibit of ceremonial objects from a pre-World War II Jewish community in the Polish city of Danzig (noss Gdansk)
A fundraising auction of art and antiques in November, 1981, part of a larger effort to raise funds for the re-opening, elected a "wonderful response" from the community and the University. Nitza Rosovsky, coordinator of the exhibit said yesterday. Rosovsky declined to disclose the amount of money the museum has raised.
Preparations and negotiations for the museum's re-opening began in 1970, after anti-war demonstrators detonated a bomb on the tool of the Divinity Avenue building in protest of the use of the building by the Center for International Affairs
The bomb's destruction uncovered an unparalleled collection of 19th-century Near last photographs packed away since the early 1940.
Recent museum symposiums have drawn the attention of academics from the Mid-East who are interested in preserving the photographs to use in archeological restoration projects
The Semitic Museum has had a history of financial difficulties since its founding in 903 and currently has no endowment, Frank Moore Cross, director of the museum, said yesterday, adding the longstanding weakness in the Near Eastern Language and Civilization department helped explain the fiscal problems
No Sheiks Then
"At the beginning of the 20th century, Harvard University was a New England college for a New England elite," Cross said "Happily, we are beginning to see the growth and development in this area which should have taken place many years ago at Harvard," he added.
Following the Danzig exhibit, the museum is planning an exhibit for next fall of early photographs of the Near East, and an exhibit on early Islamic inscriptions from the 8th and 9th centuries to open in January 1983
Rosovsky said the Danzig exhibit had special meaning for her because her husband. Henry Rosovsky, dean of the Faculty, was born in Danzig and the "story of the exhibit is a story of Henry's family and their lives."
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