This is an online event.
Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
The Sutro Egyptian collection in the Global Museum at San Francisco State University is comprised of approximately 700 purchased ancient Egyptian objects and mummified human remains. Many museums have similar types of purchased collections where minimal information is known about the context of individual objects or the overall collection. Until recently, the only known information about the Sutro collection and the mummies was that they had been acquired by Adolph Sutro in the late 1880s, displayed in the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, and eventually donated to San Francisco State University in the 1960s where they currently reside. Further exploration of the objects and archival materials has provided more information about the provenance of the collection and mummies and the motives behind their original acquisition. This lecture will reveal the complicated history of the Sutro collection, consider the implications of this type of historical research on purchased collections, and discuss how continued research on the context in which these objects were collected can help fill the lacunae in our museum and archaeological records. I will discuss how thoughtful content development, curation, exhibit design, and educational programming created by students for students can help address misconceptions about ancient Egyptian mummies and advance best practices regarding the collection, care, and display of human remains.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Colla, E. 2007. Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Riggs, C. 2013. “Colonial Visions: Egyptian Antiquities and Contested Histories in the Cairo Museum.” Museum Worlds: Advances in Research 1 (2013): 65-84.
Stevenson, A. 2019. Scattered Finds: Archaeology, Egyptology and Museums. London: UCL Press.