Collaborative Futures for Museum Collections: Antiquities, Provenance and Cultural Heritage


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Program     |     Speakers     |     Location    |     Accommodations


WHEN: Monday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WHERE: Foyer of The Menil Collection &  Rice University Founder's Room

Keynote address and Tuesday talks are open to the public; Wednesday workshop is restricted to professionals.

Conference Description

This conference presents the crucial first outcomes of the Collections Analysis Collaborative (CAC), a research and educational initiative developed to probe questions of cultural heritage and to generate a rich, historical understanding of nearly 600 objects from the ancient Mediterranean in the Menil’s permanent collection.  Over the past year, scholars from across the United States have been granted extraordinary access to the Menil’s object records in order to investigate the biography, history and significance of works in the collection.  Their charge has been to explore how open collaboration between museums and scholars can shed new light on the collection and on challenges that face art historians, archaeologists and museum professionals in a new era of cultural stewardship.  

European and American collections of antiquities often manifest complicated acquisition histories that include political relationships with other nations, fieldwork and excavations, purchases from art dealers and auction houses, and gifts to institutions from collectors and patrons.  An object’s aesthetic and cultural significance and its perceived authenticity have often superseded its documented provenance, provenience, and the circumstances through which collectors acquired it. Following the ratification of the UNESCO 1970 convention and the 1983 Cultural Properties Implementation Act (CPIA), the political and ethical contexts of past practices are no longer tenable. This creates a complex situation for both established and growing collections.  By fostering open dialogue among scholarly communities with diverse perspectives, the project aims to generate new models for research partnerships, collection stewardship, and the study of art from the ancient world.




MONDAY (10/17): KEYNOTE   Menil Foyer

5:00 | Doors open
5:30 | Rebecca Rabinow - Welcome
5:45 | Keynote address by C. Brian Rose - "Archaeology, Museums, and War in the 21st Century"


8:30 | Doors open
9:00 | Farès el-Dahdah - Welcome to the presentations
9:10 | Paul DavisSarah Kielt Costello and John Hopkins – "Forward with the Past: Antiquities, the Menil and the Collections Analysis Collaborative"
9:35 | Nicole Budrovich - "The Antiquities Provenance Project at the Getty"
9:55 | Betsy Bryan – "Egyptian art in the Menil Collection: talking to objects and hoping they reply."

10:45 | Coffee

11:00 | Susan Langdon - "Greek Geometric Bronzes and the Consequences of Esteem"
11:50 | Nassos Papalexandrou - "Collecting Greek antiquities in the ‘60s: a group of Early Greek bronze horses in the Menil Collection"

12:40 | Break for lunch / antiquities gallery open

2:00 | Phoebe Segal - "The Menil Vases, The Image of the Black and 21st century museum audiences"
2:50 | Jennifer Gates-Foster  – "Out of Egypt: Bronze and Terracotta Images of Africans in the Menil Collection"

3:40 | Break

3:55 | Carla Antonaccio - "All that Glitters: Collecting the Iron Age"
4:45 | Discussion and gallery conversations
5:30 | Close

WEDNESDAY (10/19): WORKSHOP (restricted to professionals)   Rice University, Founder's Room

9:00| Susan McIntosh ­– Welcome to the workshop
9:15| Morag Kersel – "Uneasy Alliances: The academy, collectors, museums, and undocumented collections" followed by workshop discussion on publication, display and research on collections with uncertain/contested histories

10:45 | Break

11:00 | Victoria Reed – "Collecting Antiquities Since 2008: A Look at Guidelines and Best Practices"  followed by workshop discussion on provenance research and smaller collections

12:45 | Lunch



Carla M. Antonaccio
Professor, Duke University

Carla M. Antonaccio is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Classical Studies and the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University and Co-Director of the American Excavations at Morgantina (Sicily). She was educated at Wellesley College and Princeton University, and has traveled and studied extensively in Greece, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. She is former Dean of the Arts and Humanities at Wesleyan University, where she taught from 1988-2005. She has served as Secretary of the Managing Committee of the American School of the Classical Studies at Athens (1998-2008), and an Academic Trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs.

 She is author of An Archaeology of Ancestors, Greek Tomb and Hero Cult, and numerous articles on Greek cult practice, trade and colonization, the excavations at Morgantina and their results, and on ethnicity and cultural identity in the Greek world. She is also co-editor of several collections of papers and co-editor of the Oxford University Press series Greeks Overseas.

Betsy M. Bryan
Chair and Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Betsy M. Bryan is the Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, where she has taught since 1986.  Dr. Bryan specializes in the history, art, and archaeology of the New Kingdom in Egypt, ca. 1600-1000 B.C., with a particular emphasis on the 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550-1300 B.C.  Her research interests include the organization and techniques of art production as well as the religious and cultural significance of tomb and temple decoration. Her current fieldwork is in the temple complex of the goddess Mut at South Karnak, which she divides with the Brooklyn Museum's expedition.  Dr. Bryan has also been interested in the presentation of Egypt's visual history to the public and has curated two major loan exhibitions with curators at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art and has consulted for reinstallations at the Walters Art Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.

Nicole Budrovich
Curatorial Assistant, J. Paul Getty Museum

Nicole Budrovich is a Curatorial Assistant in the Antiquities Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She received her BA in Classics from UC Berkeley and MA in Art History from UC Davis, where her research focused on domestic decoration and the reception of Roman literature in the western provinces. At the Getty, she has worked with David Saunders and Judith Barr on the Antiquities Provenance Project, which aims to make provenance information for every object in the Antiquities collection available online. She recently contributed to the Getty catalog Roman Mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum (2016), published in conjunction with the exhibition Roman Mosaics across the Empire (March 2016 - January 2018).

Sarah Kielt Costello
Assistant Professor, University of Houston – Clear Lake

Sarah Kielt Costello is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. She is a supervisor and specialist for the Prastion-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition in western Cyprus, and has also conducted archaeological research in Turkey, Israel, and Greece. In 2013 she studied in Greece as a Fulbright Fellow in the Summer Session at the American School of Classical Studies. In 2008 she was a Brown Foundation Fellow at the Dora Maar House in Menerbes, France. Her publications are focused on the interpretation of early imagery in the Near East, including an article in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal on seals and the development of writing, and a forthcoming edited volume, Seals and Sealing in Ancient World: Case Studies from the Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, and South Asia.

Paul R. Davis
Curator of Collections, The Menil Collection

Paul R. Davis is Curator of Collections at the Menil and oversees the diverse permanent collection of art from Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and Pacific Northwest, and the Ancient World. He formerly was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for the Creative Arts of Africa at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow in Bamako, Mali. His research and publications address the visual arts and sociopolitical histories of colonial and post-independence eras in West Africa. His recent exhibition projects have included Victor Forestier Sow: A Pioneer Malian Painter (2014) and Affecting Presence and the Pursuit of Delicious Experiences (2015). He is curator of the upcoming exhibition ReCollecting Dogon, which opens 3 February 2017 at the Menil and examines the Euro-American practices of collecting and interpreting the visual culture of Dogon peoples in eastern Mali during the twentieth century.

Jennifer Gates-Foster
Assistant Professor, The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Jennifer Gates-Foster is an archaeologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has held positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Darwin College, Cambridge where she was the Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellow.  Her research focuses on the material culture of the Hellenistic and Roman Near East, especially Egypt, where she has worked for more than a fifteen years.  She is the director of the Omrit Settlement Excavation Project in northern Israel and the ceramicist for the Eastern Desert Expedition of the French Mission in Cairo.  Her publications include the forthcoming Archaeological Survey of the Berenike-Nile Roads, Eastern Desert of Egypt, 1988-2003: Expeditions by the University of Michigan and the University of Delaware, co-edited with Steven Sidebotham, and many articles on the road systems and material remains of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.

John N. Hopkins
Assistant Professor, Rice University

John N. Hopkins is Assistant Professor of Art History and Classical Studies at Rice University. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS from Northwestren University.  He works on physical/visual/spatial experience and the diachronic investigation of cultural and societal shift in the art and architecture of the ancient Mediterranean.  He has published numerous articles on the architecture and matieral culture of early Rome, and his book, The Genesis of Roman Architecture, was published in 2015 by Yale University Press.  He is currently working on connectivity between Rome and the Mediterranean in the Classical and Hellenistic periods for a new monograph.  He also works extensively in Digital Humanities and on issues of Cultural Heritage and Authenticity in two current co-directed projects: the Collections Analysis Collaborative and the 2017-2018 Rice Seminar on "Forgery and the Ancient."  The Rice Seminar and conference investigates legitimacy, authenticity and agency in relation to the two concepts of forgery and the ancient world.

Morag M. Kersel
Associate Professor, DePaul University

Morag M. Kersel is Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University, Director of the Museum Studies Minor, and affiliated faculty with the Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law in the College of Law at DePaul. Her work combines archaeological, archival, and ethnographic research in order to understand the efficacy of cultural heritage law in protecting archaeological landscapes from looting. She co-directs the Follow the Pots Project (, which traces the movement of Early Bronze Age pots from the Dead Sea Plain in Jordan. Kersel earned her doctorate from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and a master of Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia. She is co-author (with Christina Luke) of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage (Routledge 2013) and co-editor (with Matthew T. Rutz) of Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology and Ethics (Oxbow 2014).

Susan Langdon
Professor and Department Chair, University of Missouri

Susan Langdon is Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on the social use of material culture in early Greece through aspects from Geometric pottery production and votive behavior to social ritual and the emergence of iconographic traditions. Her books include Artifact and Assemblage (1995), New Light on a Dark Age (1997), and Art and Identity in Dark Age Greece, 1100-700 BCE (2008). She is currently preparing a monograph on the Archaic terracotta votive figurines from the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Corinth. She has worked on excavations and field projects at Halieis, the Southern Argolid Exploration Project, Sardis, and Kalavasos-Tenta and Kalavasos-Kopetra on Cyprus. She curated the traveling exhibition From Pasture to Polis: Art in the Age of Homer for the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri.

Nassos Papalexandrou
Associate Professor, The University of Texas – Austin

Nassos Papalexandrou is Associate Professor of art and archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin. He specializes in the study of the visual and material cultures of the Preclassical Mediterranean.  He is the author of The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece and is currently at work on a book that deals with the so-called Orientalizing cauldrons of the seventh century BCE. His most recently published article focuses on the post-WWII reinstallation of the Acropolis Museum by archaeologist/curator Ioannis Meliades. Last year he held a visiting research fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington D.C. and he is also the recipient of an NEH grant that will allow him to conduct research in Greece under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens during the first half of 2017. He has excavated at the Idaean Cave of Crete, Athens, Samothrace, Naxos, Tiryns, and Marion/Arsinoe at Cyprus. 

Victoria S. Reed
Sadler Curator of Provenance, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Victoria S. Reed was named the Curator for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), in July 2010. In this role, she is responsible for the research and documentation of the provenance of the MFA’s encyclopedic collection, the review of potential acquisitions and loans, and the development of due diligence policies and practice throughout the curatorial division. Previously, she was the Assistant Curator for Provenance (2008–2010) and Research Fellow for Provenance (2003–2008) in the MFA’s Art of Europe department. Reed has lectured widely and published extensively on matters related to provenance research. She received her MA and Ph.D. in art history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and her BA in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College.

C. Brian Rose
Chair and Professor, Curator, University of Pennsylvania

C. Brian Rose is the James B. Pritchard Professor of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania in the Classical Studies Department and the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World. He is also Peter C. Ferry Curator-in-Charge of the Mediterranean Section of the Penn Museum, and was the museum's Deputy Director from 2008-2011. He has served as the President of the Archaeological Institute of America (2007-2011) and currently serves as director for the Gordion (Turkey) excavations. From 2003 to 2007, he directed the Granicus River Valley Survey Project, which focused on recording and mapping the Graeco-Persian tombs that dominate northwestern Turkey.  He served as Head of Post-Bronze Age excavations at Troy between 1988 and 2012.

He has been a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome since 2001, and currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. In 2015 he was elected Vice President of the American Research Institute in Turkey. Rose received the Gold Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America in 2015. 

Phoebe C. Segal
Assistant Curator, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Pheobe C. Segal is the Mary Bryce Comstock Assistant Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). She was previously a Curatorial Research Associate for Art of the Ancient World for the MFA (2008-2011).  She received her M.A. and Ph.D, as well as her M.Phil, from Columbia University and BA from Brown University.  Segal is curator and editor with Christine Kondoleon of Aphrodite and the Gods of Love and Worshipping Love: The Mighty Aphrodite, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and has published in catalogues for exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  She has also spoken widely and published on topics related to Greek myths and vases, as well as on other antiquities at the MFA in Etruscan Studies, Apollo and elsewhere.





Map, Directions, & Accommodations

Location: Events on Monday and Tuesday will take place in the Foyer of The Menil Collection; the workshop on Wednesday will take place in the Founder's Room at Lovett Hall  (Building 48 on the Rice University campus map, Entrance B, second floor) on the campus of Rice University

Parking: Parking at the Menil is available in the museum’s main parking lot, located at 1515 West Alabama Street.  Additional street parking is available on Sul Ross, Mulberry, and Branard streets and in lots adjacent to Richmond Hall and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel.  At Rice, visitors can park at the Founders Court or Lovett lots if there is space or in West Lot 1 or beneath the Business school (see above campus map).

Transit: Lovett Hall is a 5-10 (0.3 mile) walk from the Hermann Park / Rice University stop on the METRORail Redline



Rooms are available at:

1.  The Courtyard by Marriott Houston West University
2939 Westpark Drive / Houston, TX 77005
Reservations for our group can be made at this LINK
Or by calling the Courtyard By Marriott Houston West University at  713-661-5669 
Please request the Rice University room block.

2. The Modern B & B
832-279-6367 / 1-800-462-4014
Five rooms are reserved for the Menil Collection; please contact Lisa and make reservation for the "CAC Conference in October at the Menil."