Monday, August 20, 2007

Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago

PJ Star (Mike Ramsey)

The Oriental Institute Museum showcases 8,000 artifacts from some of the ancient empires - including those of Mesopotamia, Persia and Egypt - that gave birth to modern civilization. Some of the oldest cultural relics go back more than 5,000 years.

Impressive stuff. Yet, the free Hyde Park attraction has only a relatively modest attendance of about 60,000 visitors each year. In fact, some refer to the 16,000-square-foot museum as the proverbial hidden jewel. "It drives us crazy when people call us that," says Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute that oversees the site. Stein said the museum doesn't have much of a marketing budget to compete with Chicago's major tourism draws. He added that the institute's mission is largely academic and driven by the continuing research of staff archaeologists.

Still, officials at the museum are hoping for a higher public profile, with the conclusion of a $15 million renovation that was finished last year.
See the above page for more.

The OI Museum has its own website, which has recently been updated and now has the same look and feel as the rest of the OI website, and has a page dedicated to the Egyptian Gallery (click on the thumbnail to see the full sized image).

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