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History of the Museum

The Early Years: 1868-1902

The AUB Archaeological Museum is the third oldest museum in the Near East, after Cairo and Constantinople. In 1868, two years after the founding of the university, General Cesnola, the American consul in Cyprus, donated the first gift of Cypriot pottery. By 1868, the collection had grown so extensively from donations, purchases and exchanges with other museums that it required a museum to house it. Georges Post, Professor of Botany and Surgery, was the first keeper of this collection. The initial donation for the construction of a science building to be named Post Hall was given by Morris Jessup, in gratitude to Professor Post for curing him. The Museum opened in 1902.

 
Post Hall Building 1902

A Regional Museum

From 1902 to 1938 the Museum acquired collections from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and Iran. The geographical variety of the collections provenances distinguished the Museum as a regional one. Today, the Museum provides a unique overview of the Near East from the Early Stone Age through to the Islamic Period.

 


Museum 1902-1938


Museum 1902-1938

 


Museum 1902-1938


Plan of Museum 1902-1938

 

Years of War: 1938-1948

Mrs. Bliss-Dodge undertook the responsibility of packing the entire collection to protect it from damage during World War II. The galleries remained closed until 1948, when Mrs. Mackay reorganized the collection for the UNESCO meeting in Beirut that year.

Expansion: 1950s-1964

In 1956 the AUB Trustees secured funds to double the Museum space and buy new equipment. Thanks to the efforts of curator D.C. Baramki the refurbished and expanded Museum was reopened to the public in 1964.

 


Plan of Museum 1950-1964

 

Complete Renovation: 2006

During the crisis year of Lebanon (1975-1990) the AUB Museum remained the only museum opened in the country.

Since the year 1999, the present director of the Museum, Dr. Leila Badre, in collaboration with her team, undertook the major task of modernizing the Museum in view of its complete renovation. The addition of a Mezzanine added twenty per cent to the exhibition space.

The necessary funds for the renovation were secured from the help of the Society of the Friends of the AUB Museum and a major donation from the Joukowsky Family Foundation.

The museum reopened on June 2, 2006.

 


The interior of the renovated Museum 2006

 


From left to right: Donner Mrs. Joukowsky,
Pres. Waterburry, P.M. Siniora, Society President Mrs. Junblat and Museum director Dr. Badre. Opening ceremony.


Crowd in front of Post Hall during the reopening ceremony

 


 
Map of the renovated Musuem (2006)

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