As an amateur archaeologist, enthusiast, student, armchair archaeologist, is there value in becoming a member of a museum like the Oriental Institute Museum (OIM) in Chicago? Well, most museums do list some generous benefits as does OIM.

OIM Chicago

OIM Chicago lists the following as benefits of joining as a member:

  1. Free subscription to their member newsletter
  2. A print copy of the Annual Report. Sample back years are online.
  3. Special invitations to programs, dinners, lectures, etc.
  4. Discounts in the museum shop and on Institute publications.
  5. Discounts on seminars, workshops, symposia, etc.
  6. Use of Research Archives (electronic resources)

These benefits are generous and if you live near Chicago and/or you take an annual archaeological pilgrimage to Chicago then the membership benefits of the OIM are excellent.

If you have never visited the OIM in Chicago then how can you even call yourself and armcharian? It has one of the finest ancient Near East collections in the world. Plus, Wrigley Field is close enough to catch the Cubbies in action.

If you’re not a member of the OIM please join. Friends of the Institute membership prices range from $40 to $75 annually.

Why not plan an annual trip to Chicago, perhaps with a former prof or student, and spend plenty of time at the OIM, then see the Cubs play at Wrigley? Make it a long weekend.

The Armchair Archaeologist gives the Oriental Institute Museum

4 helmets

The only reason the OIM does not get five helmets is because their web site is embarrassing. Their is a lot of data and resources accsible from it but it is like having to crawl on all fours through an Egyptian pyramid labrynth under ground in the dark.



The [2003] Metropolitan exhibition opens with a limestone statue of a full-bearded “priest king” believed to be from 3300-3000 b.c. Uruk, a city of some 40,000 inhabitants that was home to the legendary epic hero Gilgamesh. Located 150 miles south of present-day Baghdad, Uruk was once filled with lush gardens, man-made canals and sprawling mud-brick temples. At the Met, subsequent galleries present gold and lapis lazuli jewelry and statuary from the royal cemetery at Ur, which was excavated from 1922 to 1934 by British archaeologist Leonard Woolley. (The city-state of Ur emerged as an important center of commerce and Sumerian culture circa 2700 b.c.) The prize piece is the Standard of Ur (below), a trapezoidal box, 18-1/2 inches long by 8 inches high, that depicts battle and banquet scenes in elaborately detailed mosaics composed of shell and lapis lazuli inlay. Because it was found beside the skeleton of a man, Woolley speculated that the box, which dates from the late phase of the Early Dynastic period (circa 2550-2400 b.c.), was carried like a banner, or standard.

To read the full article about the wonderful exhibit on Mesopotamia at the Met, click here.

To visit the Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus online go to this link.

Standard of Ur