March 26, 2009
Contact: Karen Cardinal
Accounting, Web and Marketing Manager, Mead Art Museum

AMHERST, Mass.—On Tuesday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m., Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum, in conjunction with SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone and the ICAE/Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange, will participate in a global observance marking the sixth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. The event, which will feature the unveiling of a temporary installation of Iraqi children’s art and discussions of several pieces in the Mead’s collection, is free and open to the public.

Jill Bierly, University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral candidate in anthropology, together with Claudia Lefko, coordinator of the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange, will introduce a temporary installation of Iraqi children’s art hung in Stearns Steeple. Immediately following that activity, Bierly will speak in the Mead’s Kunian Gallery and link the monumentality of Amherst’s ancient Assyrian reliefs to art-making in contemporary Iraq. Mead docents will then continue with a discussion of the museum’s holdings of ancient art. The observance will end with the lighting of commemorative candles on the sidewalk in front of the Mead. The vigil aims to draw attention to the thousands of artifacts still missing from the Iraq Museum and the continuing destruction and looting of archeological sites in Iraq and around the world. It also celebrates the reopening of eight of the Iraq Museum’s 26 galleries.

On April 13, 2003, thousands of invaluable objects were either destroyed or looted from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. Donny George, former director general of the Iraq Museum, explained the ongoing tragedy, saying, “…Whenever objects are looted from the ground, the cultural and historical information that proper excavation would have yielded is lost forever. It is not something we are losing and tomorrow we can buy again. It is the memory of the Iraqi people, the memories of mankind.”

A complete schedule of museum events is posted on the Mead’s Web site:

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays 9 a.m. to midnight, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.