Semitic Museum

Semitic Museum We are a FREE museum that explores the rich history of cultures connected by the family of Semitic languages.
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The Harvard Semitic Museum was founded in 1889, and moved into its present location in 1903. From the beginning, it was the home of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, a departmental library, a repository for research collections, a public educational institute, and a center for archaeological exploration. Among the Museum's early achievements were the first scientific excavations in the Holy Land (at Samaria in 1907-1912) and excavations at Nuzi and Tell el-Khaleifeh in the Sinai, where the earliest alphabet was found. During World War II, the Museum housed Naval offices and was closed to the public. In the 1970's, academic activities resumed in the Semitic Museum, which is again home to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and to the University's collections of Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. These artifacts comprise over 40,000 items, including pottery, cylinder seals, sculpture, coins and cuneiform tablets. Many are from museum-sponsored excavations in Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Cyprus, and Tunisia. The Museum remains dedicated to the use of these collections for the teaching, research, and publication of Near Eastern archaeology, history, and culture. Exhibitions include a full-scale replica of an ancient Israelite home, life sized casts of famous Mesopotamian monuments, authentic mummy coffins, and tablets containing the earliest forms of writing. Like the artifacts it displays, the museum itself has a rich and nuanced history.

If you aren't into crowded shopping, and need to work off that Thanksgiving dinner, take a walk to the Harvard Semitic M...
11/26/2019

If you aren't into crowded shopping, and need to work off that Thanksgiving dinner, take a walk to the Harvard Semitic Museum for a special #BlackFriday activity: Dreaming the Sphinx in #AugmentedReality.

Between the paws of the great Sphinx is the Dream Stela, a monument which describes how a young prince fell asleep in the shadow of the Sphinx by the Giza Pyramids. The Sphinx promised young prince Thutmose IV the throne if he would clear away the sand covering its body.

On 11/29 from 12pm-2pm visitors to the Harvard Semitic Museum will be able to experience the iconic Sphinx and its Dream Stela in 3D augmented reality. A gallery facilitator will use a tablet to allow the Sphinx to loom above and around a real life-size cast of the monumental stela.

Watch a demo here: http://bit.ly/DreamingtheSphinx

Free and open to the public. Harvard Semitic Museum, 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Where did ancient Egyptians get the millions of ibises that they mummified as offerings to the god Thoth?Results of new ...
11/18/2019
Millions of Ibises Were Mummified. But Where Did Ancient Egypt Get Them?

Where did ancient Egyptians get the millions of ibises that they mummified as offerings to the god Thoth?

Results of new study published last week in PLOS One challenge the explanation that they came from large ibis breeding farms. Read on...

DNA analysis of the preserved birds found in many catacombs undercuts the explanation that there were large-scale ibis breeding farms.

11/18/2019
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

Join us on Tuesday, November 19th as Elizabeth Minor discusses human sacrifice in the Kerma Kingdom, an ancient Nubian civilization.

Join us on Tuesday, November 19th as Elizabeth Minor discusses human sacrifice in the Kerma Kingdom, an ancient Nubian civilization.

Ancient History Encyclopedia
10/28/2019
Ancient History Encyclopedia

Ancient History Encyclopedia

Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate.

We have a very special activity for International Archaeology Day #IAD2019 (Sunday, 10/20, 12–3pm)! “Travel” in fifteen ...
10/18/2019

We have a very special activity for International Archaeology Day #IAD2019 (Sunday, 10/20, 12–3pm)!

“Travel” in fifteen minutes to an archaeological site in Ashkelon, Israel to explore the first-ever excavation of a Philistine burial ground. For years archaeologists have searched for evidence of these Biblical people. Transport yourself to the center of 360° scenes of an archaeological expedition while your gallery facilitator explains what you are seeing.

Borrow a device from the museum or download the virtual reality app on your smart phone, and bring it to a 3D viewer at the museum.

FREE & open to the public. If you are doing this at home simply download from Apple Store or get on Google Play. Also, don't miss the the related virtual reality experience at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, right across the street! #harvardsemiticmuseum http://bit.ly/2k9qtPI

Walk like a Mesopotamian in the Harvard Semitic Museum! Open Sunday through Friday 11am-4pm; admission is always free. P...
10/17/2019

Walk like a Mesopotamian in the Harvard Semitic Museum! Open Sunday through Friday 11am-4pm; admission is always free. Picture by Ezra Ball #fanfavorite #mesopotamia http://bit.ly/2nQqD0e

Twenty sealed and intact wooden coffins discovered in Assasif.Egyptian officials have not given the time frame from whic...
10/17/2019
Archaeologists discover more than 20 sealed coffins just as the ancient Egyptians left them

Twenty sealed and intact wooden coffins discovered in Assasif.

Egyptian officials have not given the time frame from which the coffins date, but the site where they were found was once part of the ancient city of Thebes. More details to be released during Saturday, October 19 news conference.

The Egyptian government described the coffins as "one of the largest and more important discoveries to be announced in the past few years."

09/25/2019

Join us at 6 pm on Thursday, September 26th for the livestreaming of "Breaking the Noses on Egyptian Statues." Focusing on the ancient world of the pharaohs and on the Late Antique world that emerged following Egyptian conversion to Christianity, Edward Bleiberg will examine the patterns of damage inflicted on Egyptian images for personal, political, religious, and criminal reasons.

Such an amazing discovery right in Idaho - a verified pre-Clovis archaeological site.
09/02/2019
National Geographic

Such an amazing discovery right in Idaho - a verified pre-Clovis archaeological site.

Artifacts discovered at the Cooper's Landing site date to 15,000-16,000 years ago—thousands of years before people are traditionally thought to have arrived in the Americas.

The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture is a dynamic partnership of our museum plus three sister museums: The Harvard M...
08/22/2019

The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture is a dynamic partnership of our museum plus three sister museums: The Harvard Museum of Natural History (home of the Glass Flowers), The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology (known for its extensive Native American and Mesoamerican collections), and The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (Gregorian reflecting telescopes, & more).

We are looking forward to hosting our Annual Harvard Museums of Science & Culture Member Appreciation Night this evening. Members will take part in family-friendly activities, and interact with the collections in new and fun ways.

One Membership opens the doors to behind-the-scenes tours, discounts on classes, and opportunities to interact personally with celebrated scientists, archaeologists, artists, and experts from Harvard and around the world. Additionally, membership supports the museums’ ability to bring dynamic exhibitions and engaging public programs to a broad and diverse audience. Join today! http://bit.ly/2TVWFU9 (Photo by Tony Rinaldo)

We are thrilled to see so many visitors using the augmented reality feature in our Dream Stela gallery during the Highla...
08/16/2019
Dream Stela

We are thrilled to see so many visitors using the augmented reality feature in our Dream Stela gallery during the Highland Street Foundation-sponsored #FreeFunFridays. Learn more about the technology, and what's available at the museum everyday: https://semiticmuseum.fas.harvard.edu/dream-stela

Great Sphinx Dream Stela Harvard Semitic Museum Dreaming the Sphinx hieroglyphs

We're open this Friday 9–5, as part of Highland Street Foundation's #FreeFunFriday!
08/12/2019
Free Fun Friday 2019!

We're open this Friday 9–5, as part of Highland Street Foundation's #FreeFunFriday!

Date: Friday, August 16, 2019, 9:00am to 5:00pm Location: Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street; Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Avenue; Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, 1 Oxford Street; Harvard Semitic Museum, 6 Divinity Avenue Enjoy free admission on Friday, August 16 a...

Amazingly, replica making methods have evolved beyond labor-intensive techniques of mold making and casting. The Harvard...
08/10/2019

Amazingly, replica making methods have evolved beyond labor-intensive techniques of mold making and casting. The Harvard Semitic Museum created this Nuzi Lion Composite Statuette by combining archaeological fragments with a 3D torso digitally stitched together from multiple 2D photographs, and then mathematically carved from high density foam. The Semitic Museum is open Monday–Friday, 11am–4pm & Sundays 11am–4pm (closed Saturdays). #LionDay

"Peter Der Manuelian, director of Harvard’s Semitic Museum, said that many affluent Egyptians were buried with supplies ...
08/09/2019
Now rising from an ancient Egyptian tomb: Bread - The Boston Globe

"Peter Der Manuelian, director of Harvard’s Semitic Museum, said that many affluent Egyptians were buried with supplies of bread, meat, and beer for their enjoyment in the afterlife." Read about an experiment to recreate delicious ancient bread.

Video game designer Seamus Blackley used ancient yeast from a 4,500-year-old loaf of Egyptian bread at the Museum of Fine Arts to make modern bread.

Happy #SistersDay! Sisters sure make life more fun. This photo from our #sister museum the Peabody Museum of Archaeology...
08/04/2019

Happy #SistersDay! Sisters sure make life more fun. This photo from our #sister museum the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology (you see what we did there) of sisters and cousins was taken in Peliaton, Bali, Indonesia in 1975 or 1976. Photograph by Danielle Toth. © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, PM2016.7.1.3769

Eureka!
07/24/2019

Eureka!

On a dig in Peru this summer, Harvard student Caroline Coolidge unearthed a figurine approximately 1,000 years old. Read more: https://hrvd.me/dig87f

ICYMI: Cool off inside the Harvard Semitic Museum with activities related to the ancient Near East. Today's activity is ...
07/21/2019

ICYMI: Cool off inside the Harvard Semitic Museum with activities related to the ancient Near East. Today's activity is Decoding Hieroglyphics. Stop by every Sunday, 11am - 4pm, until August 25th! http://bit.ly/2JslGRY

Provide the whole family with new experiences every Sunday this summer at the Semitic Museum. Visit every Sunday from July 7th to August 25th (11am-4pm), and explore different aspects of arts from the ancient Near East. Construct models of an Egyptian pyramid, inscribe clay tablets, and decode hieroglyphics. Activities change daily; drop in for five minutes, or 30, to see what is new every day! http://bit.ly/2JslGRY

What better way to celebrate #Apollo50 than to swing by our partner museum's Lunar Soirée 21+ event on Saturday, July 20...
07/10/2019

What better way to celebrate #Apollo50 than to swing by our partner museum's Lunar Soirée 21+ event on Saturday, July 20th, from 7-10pm? http://bit.ly/30mHF3G

The Harvard Museum of Natural History will open the new mini-exhibit Cosmic Origins earlier in the day, featuring a special #lunarsample directly from NASA. http://bit.ly/2L9xZ9a

Did I mention we will be serving moon-themed cocktails, and refreshments, playing 60s music, and partaking in moon-inspired demonstrations & activities at the evening event?🌛

Advance tickets are required to attend A Lunar Soirée, and all sales are final: $20 members/$25 nonmembers. Free parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage: http://bit.ly/2XYYS5C.

Cosmic Origins open to the public on 7/20 at 9 am. The exhibition is supported by a generous gift in memory of John P. Huchra.

Provide the whole family with new experiences every Sunday this summer at the Semitic Museum. Visit every Sunday from Ju...
07/05/2019

Provide the whole family with new experiences every Sunday this summer at the Semitic Museum. Visit every Sunday from July 7th to August 25th (11am-4pm), and explore different aspects of arts from the ancient Near East. Construct models of an Egyptian pyramid, inscribe clay tablets, and decode hieroglyphics. Activities change daily; drop in for five minutes, or 30, to see what is new every day! http://bit.ly/2JslGRY

A team of archaeologists--including Semitic Museum curator Adam Aja--and geneticists who have spent more than 30 years e...
07/03/2019
Biblical bad guys the ancient Philistines came from Europe, DNA shows

A team of archaeologists--including Semitic Museum curator Adam Aja--and geneticists who have spent more than 30 years excavating the city retrieved, for the first time, genetic data from ten Ashkelon skeletons, from about 3,600 to 2,800 years old.

The ancient Philistines, the Biblical villains whose origins have puzzled schola...

We are looking forward to summer favorites like fresh watermelon, sweet corn, and potato salad this holiday. Feast your ...
07/02/2019

We are looking forward to summer favorites like fresh watermelon, sweet corn, and potato salad this holiday. Feast your eyes on this visual treat of watermelon look-alike Elbaite from our Earth & Planetary Sciences gallery at our sister museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History. A reminder that we are open normal hours, 11AM - 4PM, on the 4th. Take a tour, and cool off! https://semiticmuseum.fas.harvard.edu/visit

Live scorpions, glass flowers, and more in the galleries, and live music, performances, flame-jumping, traveling animal ...
06/24/2019

Live scorpions, glass flowers, and more in the galleries, and live music, performances, flame-jumping, traveling animal farm, and make-your-own fresh flower crowns outside. Last Friday's Summer Solstice celebration was a great night with free admission to the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture.

Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
06/21/2019

Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

It's finally here! #HarvardSolstice #summersolstice

Thanks to The Boston Day Book for the #HarvardSolstice shout out -  tonight at 11 Divinity Ave! #SummerSolstice
06/21/2019
The Boston Day Book

Thanks to The Boston Day Book for the #HarvardSolstice shout out - tonight at 11 Divinity Ave! #SummerSolstice

Have a wonderful weekend! Our picks include the BAMS Fest, Harvard Museums of Science & Culture solstice celebration, Fete de la Musique with Community Music Center of Boston, Roxbury International Film Festival, and a collaboration between the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Boston Public Library (that includes free tickets to the museum!). Enjoy!

The #HarvardSolstice must go on! New England weather can be unpredictable, but it's looking like Mother Nature will smil...
06/20/2019

The #HarvardSolstice must go on! New England weather can be unpredictable, but it's looking like Mother Nature will smile upon us for the longest day of the year. Our Summer Solstice Celebration on Friday will be held outdoors as originally planned. Rain is expected to end before the celebration begins. The grass may still be damp; feel free to bring a blanket. See you there! http://bit.ly/2EGIaxk

We are pleased to welcome Flamenco Boston to perform for the first time at our annual, FREE Summer Solstice Festival thi...
06/19/2019

We are pleased to welcome Flamenco Boston to perform for the first time at our annual, FREE Summer Solstice Festival this Friday!

Flamenco is an eclectic art form from southern Spain that draws on the influences of Andalusians, Moors, Sephardic Jews, Indians, and Gypsies. Experience their intricate guitar playing, passionate singing, and dynamic footwork, characteristic of flamenco.

They will go on stage at 7pm followed by Ulster Landing and the Solstice countdown. Festivities (11 Divinity Ave, right outside of the Peabody Museum) & free parking (52 Oxford St garage) start at 5pm! Photo by Feda Eid.

06/07/2019
Summer Solstice Video 2019

Celebrate the #SummerSolstice with the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture at our FREE family-friendly event: 6/21, 5-9pm at 11 Divinity Ave.

We are pleased to welcome the community to a special night at the museums, offering FREE admission to all four museums, FREE parking (52 Oxford St), a variety of activities, performances, food trucks, crafts, raffles, & more. At the Harvard Semitic Museum: Use unique augmented reality technology to “take” an Egyptian Hippo Goddess out of the case, and expand her into a statue you can even walk around! Watch how much fun we had last year. http://bit.ly/2EGIaxk

What a gorgeous stretch of New England weather we are having! #harvardinspring 🌷🌳
05/25/2019

What a gorgeous stretch of New England weather we are having! #harvardinspring 🌷🌳

We are so proud of Brittany! The Harvard University Gazette highlights Rhodes Scholar Brittany Ellis' interest in making...
05/21/2019
Harvard grad will work behind the scenes to build bridges between museums and their communities

We are so proud of Brittany! The Harvard University Gazette highlights Rhodes Scholar Brittany Ellis' interest in making museums more inclusive.

Ellis spent the past two summers in Jordan on archaeological digs: “My research has shown me how archaeological work has the potential to bring people together or alienate communities. It also highlighted the need for more critical and truly collaborative methodologies when it comes to working with these materials and spaces.” http://bit.ly/2LYzvMI

In England, Rhodes Scholar Brittany Ellis will continue to promote collaboration between museums and communities in curatorial decision-making.

Did you know 78% of Harvard students holds a campus job at some point? Harvard Museums of Science & Culture's Jessica Ge...
05/06/2019

Did you know 78% of Harvard students holds a campus job at some point? Harvard Museums of Science & Culture's Jessica Gebhard '20 was recognized as one of the top 20 students holding a campus job! Jessica has gone above and beyond during her time here at HMSC. She is always attentive to procedures, willing to take extra shifts, and pleasant when dealing with visitors.

Jessica is one of the students who greets visitors at the front desks of the Harvard Semitic Museum and the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (shown here holding some homemade #cuneiform at the Semitic Museum). This year she was honored as a finalist at the Inaugural Student Worker of the Year Celebration, hosted by the Student Employee Office. If you see her at the Semitic or Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, be sure to congratulate her!

Welcome, Class of 2023! Visit The Semitic Museum with your Harvard Family button. Can't make it this weekend? Visit anyt...
04/27/2019

Welcome, Class of 2023! Visit The Semitic Museum with your Harvard Family button. Can't make it this weekend? Visit anytime for FREE! Shown here: the Statue of Ashurnasirpal II, a self-portrait originally found in his royal capital Kalhu, at the temple of Ishtar, to remind the goddess of his devotion. The inscription on his chest proclaims his titles and geneaology and mentions his imperial expedition westward to the Mediterranean Sea. In his hands, he grasps a ceremonial sickle and mace. #WelcomeToHarvard #harvardvisitas

Special announcement: HMSC Admissions Goes #PlasticFree on Earth Day!On #EarthDay2019, 4/22, we will have booths at the ...
04/19/2019

Special announcement: HMSC Admissions Goes #PlasticFree on Earth Day!

On #EarthDay2019, 4/22, we will have booths at the Harvard Science Center Plaza (1 Oxford St) and The Shop at HMNH (26 Oxford St). Hours for the Science Center booth will be 12-2pm, and we will be at the shop from 9-4.

In an effort to reduce single-use plastics from making their way into our oceans, landfills, and neighborhoods, we will no longer use plastic tags at the admissions desks.

Even more, bring in an old plastic HMSC tag through April 30, 2019 and receive same-day free admission. Please note: one free admission per HMSC tag received; regular admission rates apply to those without an HMSC tag.

On #EarthDay, visit one of our two booths (see locations and times above) to guess the number of tags in a jar for a chance to win a unique eco-friendly gift pack and a $25 credit at The Shop at HMNH.

We will also have an albatros sbolus specimen on hand: See first-hand the unfortunate byproduct of birds that ingest single-use plastics, and look at other deep-sea pollution samples collected by Harvard professor Peter Girguis in the research vessel, Alvin.

Finally, practice what you learn at Earth Day! Handouts will be available with ideas on what you can do as a consumer to reduce the impact on our environment.

Presented in collaboration with the Harvard Office for Sustainability, the FAS Green Program, and Harvard Common Spaces. For more information on HMSC museums, galleries, and programs, visit our website: http://www.hmsc.harvard.edu.

Address

6 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA
02138

MBTA accessible

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(617) 495-4631

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