Discovery, Collection, Memory: The Oriental Institute at 100

Oriental Institute James Henry Breasted

James Henry Breasted in his Haskell Office (Courtesy of the Oriental Institute Museum Archives, P. 16932_N. 08691)

On the University of Chicago's Campus at 58th Street and University Avenue is one of the world's premier institutions for the study of the Ancient Middle East, the Oriental Institute. The OI has its roots alongside the very founding of the University of Chicago when President Harper mentored a young scholar named James Henry Breasted to pursue a degree in Egyptology. Breasted went on to direct the Haskell Museum around 1900 and secured funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in May 1919 to begin the Oriental Institute. The OI has conducted 100 years of excavation, research, and scholarship. Focusing on the geographical areas of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan, OI scholars have worked rigorously to discover cultural heritage, decipher ancient languages, and to reconstruct the histories of long-lost civilizations. This exhibit remembers the OI's past through a collection of archival fragments, artifacts, and ephemera.

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