From the Collections Manager (Summer 2002)

by Elena Stolyarik

Forty two objects from the Society’s collection were lent to the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. The exhibition entitled “A Gateway to Medieval Mediterranean Life: Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue” will be on display until August 18, 2002. The materials from the exhibition illustrate the secular and religious life (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) of Cairo and Egypt during the 9th-16th centuries. Fatimid gold and silver coins from Misr, gold dinars from Alexandria, silver dirhams from al-Qahira issued by Salah al-Din b.Ayyub (known in the west as Saladin), and coin weights of the Fatimid and the Ayyubid period from the ANS collection play a valuable role in the exhibit and have been important part of the exhibit’s educational program.

Two slavery tags from the Society, one stamped “City of Charleston/​Free” and the other “Charleston /No.112/ Porter/​1815”, were contributed to a major exhibition of the Chester County Historical Society, Pennsylvania entitled Just Over the Line: Chester County and the Underground Railroad. The exhibition will be open until the end of December 2002. It is the first exhibition to interpret the role of African-Americans, Quakers and other county residents who either supported or resisted the anti-slavery movement in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It is part of a long-term research and community outreach project that is taking the Chester County Historical Society to local school and community groups. There are plans for the exhibit to travel to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Slavery tag from Charleston (ANS 1928.25.5; on display in Pennsylvania)

The ANS also provided a Charleston slave badge from 1846 for a special exhibit in England. This object is a part of the permanent exhibition entitled Transatlantic Slavery: Against Human Dignity, sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation, and is on extended loan to the National Museum and Galleries of Merseyside in Liverpool. Visitors to the Liverpool museum’s West African collections have the opportunity to discover the subject of transatlantic slavery in a novel and interesting way.

The twenty seven medals and five sculptures of the Finnish artist Toivo Jaatinen, this year’s recipient of the ANS J. Sanford Saltus Award Medal, continue to stay on display in the East Gallery of the Museum. In conjunction with the Saltus meeting a special exhibit of the Finnish medallists of the 19th-20th centuries was organized, which includes a presentation of the medals of Jacob Ahrenberg, Walter Runeberg, Carl Jahn, Emil Wikstrom, Viktor Malmberg, Gerda Qist, Gunnar Finne and Kauko Rasannen, demonstrating this important artistic tradition. Visitors also have an opportunity to see rare examples of Suomi medallic art from the ANS medal collection. The exhibition will remain on view until late September 2002.