New Rice, Menil partnership to investigate cultural heritage

New Rice, Menil partnership to investigate cultural heritage
New Rice, Menil partnership to investigate cultural heritage
Leaders at Rice University and the Menil Collection have partnered for a unique cultural heritage conference that featured art, archaeology and history from the ancient Mediterranean.

Over 100 archaeologists, art historians and museum professionals from 30 different universities and museums around the world -- including Italy -- attended the Collaborative Futures for Museum Collections: Antiquities, Provenance and Cultural Heritage conference.

The event emphasized the research and education behind the initiative. The goal was to discuss cultural heritage, encouraging a rich historical understanding of approximately 600 objects within the Menil’s permanent collection of the ancient Mediterranean.

“It was a great success, if for no other reason than because so many prominent curators and academics from around the country spoke honestly and openly about the problems that face orphaned objects and the ways we can work together to right the course of the ship,” John Hopkins, assistant professor of art history and classical studies at Rice, said. “This is perhaps the first time in recent memory that such a discussion has happened … and concluded with positive and proactive ways forward.”

This conference was part of an initiative to grant 11 U.S. scholars the opportunity to explore and study Menil’s object records. Researchers looked at the history, biography and significance of the collection’s pieces.

Ultimately, the goal was to determine how open collaboration with scholars and museums can help to improve art history, museums, archaeology and stewardship practices.

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